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How to Alleviate a Caregiver's Burden

Caregivers can have bad days, too! As you’re caring for your loved one, you may experience a whole range of emotions — from sadness to helplessness to feelings of guilt that your loved one has cancer and you don’t! If you’re the primary source of support for your loved one, you may also become overwhelmed by the demands, and you may need to accept help from others or ask for assistance.

There’s no shame in this. No single person can manage everything! It doesn’t matter how competent or capable you are. And most likely, your family and close friends would like nothing more than to be able to help you in any way possible. After all, they love you, too!

To ensure you get the help you need, depending on your circumstances and existing support system, you may want to consider making weekly or monthly assistance charts and assigning various responsibilities to certain people.

Maybe you need someone to pick up your children from school while your loved one is receiving treatment, or maybe you need someone to sit with your loved one once a week while you run errands, or maybe you need someone to get your loved one to certain doctor’s appointments.

Whatever your needs are, don’t hesitate to openly discuss them with your close family and friends to see what assistance they can provide. Even if they aren’t able to personally provide much help, they may know of some solutions.

If you feel uncomfortable asking for help or have a limited support system, consider making use of outside services to alleviate as much caregiver burden as possible.

Fortunately, these days, lots of services are available that can help you out. You can order groceries, medications, and other goods online and have them delivered directly to your door. You can also drop off your laundry to be washed and folded, arrange for housekeeping services, make use of after-school programs for children, and use transportation services to get your loved one to and from appointments.

Whatever your needs are, there’s a solution. Go online, use your local Yellow Pages, talk to your loved one’s healthcare team, or call the American Cancer Society and other cancer organizations to find local services that can address your specific needs.

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