Caregiver Tips: Part 6 – Caregiver Support




Do you, as a caregiver, ever feel like a piece of your life is missing because of your overwhelming responsibilities, and you feel like no one understands what you’re going through? Studies have shown that connecting with a support group is extremely important. Sharing what’s on your heart can help you understand the puzzle as to why you may be suddenly feeling a range of new emotions such as grief, guilt, fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, resentment, frustration, discouragement, and even loneliness. You don’t want to express these feelings to the patient and burden him/her, who has enough to deal with just focusing on getting well. People who share your common experiences can provide invaluable help, whether it is in the form of providing resources, coping tips, or simply a listening ear and a hug.

  • Find a support group for the caregiver through your church, doctor, hospital, or friends.
  • Talk with a counselor or social worker at the patient’s treatment facility.
  • If you are a caregiver to someone with cancer, seek a mentor through or similar organizations for another diagnosis, where you are matched up with someone your gender, age group, and involved with the exact same diagnosis.
  • If you are a caregiver to a senior citizen, has great resources.
  • Understand that your feelings are normal.
  • Give yourself permission to cry. It can release stress.
  • Focus on the important things that require your time and energy. Let the little things go.
  • Find something to do each week for yourself that brings you pleasure, even if it involves leaving the patient in someone else’s care while you leave (read a book, do gardening, play a musical instrument, meet a friend for lunch, watch a favorite TV show, etc.)
  • Read encouraging material, listen to uplifting music, or watch inspirational shows.
  • Take care of yourself mentally and physically. You can’t take care of someone else if you don’t take care of yourself first. Stress can cause health problems.
  • Nap when you can if you aren’t sleeping well at night.
  • Light exercise and getting some sunshine can help increase your energy level and brighten your mood.
  • If sadness lasts for more than two weeks and prevents you from functioning at normal capacity, seek professional help. It takes a strong person to realize help is needed and to pursue it.
  • offers resources if you suffer from the stress associated with constant caregiving.
  • Be willing to ask for help with meals, household chores, yard work, childcare or eldercare, shopping, pet sitting, etc. If someone says, “Call me if you need anything,” ask them specifically what they would be willing to help with and put them on a list, along with their contact information. (You don’t want to ask them for a meal if what they had in mind was mowing your yard.)
  • Find something that brings laughter into your life.
  • Develop a stronger spiritual life.
  • Learn to treasure each moment with your loved one.