November is National Family Caregiver Month. It’s hard to follow all the pinkness of October, but I hope the millions of people caring for loved ones get a little bit of the limelight this month. Think the NFL will wear caregiver awareness ribbons this month?
You see, caregiving is a thankless job. You’re usually damned if you do, damned if you don’t. The target of your caregiving doesn’t always appreciate your assistance and input, no matter how much they need it. Their independence and control has been taken away and they may grasp at any thing they can control, no matter how minor.
The caregiver/caregivee relationship often grows strained. And this strain can extend to other friends and family that, well, maybe aren’t pulling their weight shall we say? Your temper may grow short, your feelings fragile and your heart is broken.
Despite the many difficulties, caregiving can be a rewarding experience. It can bring people closer, show you the strength you have inside, and allow you to help your loved one maintain some quality of life.
If you are the caregiver for a friend or family member, know there are resources to help you navigate this journey and maintain some sanity. Below are just a few of the wonderful organizations dedicated to helping caregivers. Be sure to visit OncoLink’s caregiving section for lots of helpful tips. Know when to ask for help. And know when you need to step away and take a break.
Most of all, know you are doing a great job – and an important one. And I, for one, will wear a caregiver awareness ribbon in your honor.
Learn The Facts About Caregivers on OncoLink
Caregiver Action Network: Education, peer support, and resources for caregivers.
Help for Cancer Caregivers: Information and education for caregivers.
Caregiving Information from Cancer Care.
Tips for Caregivers from The Cancer Support Community.