8 Easy Ways Patients Can Support Their Caregivers

by Brittany McNabb

Easy Ways To Support Your Caregiver

Even though patients are sick with cancer and cannot do a lot of things, there are times that you may be able to show your caregiver how much you appreciate them. Patients understand that being a caregiver can feel like a full-time job and while they try not to be completely dependent on them, they are still the vulnerable one in the relationship. Because being a caregiver is a lot of pressure and can be emotionally stressful and physically exhausting, here are some small ways that patients can support their caregivers from telling them how thankful they are to arranging for a spa day or other thoughtful acts of love.

1. Tell your caregiver, everything is going to be okay no matter what happens.

Most of the time the caregiver is under more stress than the patient because they have no way of knowing exactly what the patient is going through. They worry about the patient, many times thinking that it's worse on them than it really is. Let them know that you are positive about this and you need the caregiver to stay positive too. Even if you are still worried and unsure, it helps to convey positive thoughts and feelings to them.

Caregiver And Patient

via fletcherallen.org

"When my mom was in hospice with lung cancer, she would call me to her room and show me that she was spitting up blood. That's scary for both of us. I would have to get the breathing machine, find the right emergency inhaler to put on it and give her the treatment to stop the bleeding. That would get my pressure up! With that also comes having to get them out of bed and watch every step they take to keep them from falling. I have been the patient, and the caregiver and I fully believe the caregiver roll was harder on me than being a patient. With that said, from the patient's perspective I was able to thank those taking care of me and try my best to support them everyday knowing what it was like to be a caregiver myself." - GregP_WN

2. Order flowers for her, buy a set of tickets to a game for him, or set up a relaxing massage. 

Sometimes you can do something thoughtful for your caregiver that will not take much effort for you. Ordering flowers, setting up a massage, or getting tickets to a game can all be done over the phone. Try to think of things that will help your caregiver relax or things that they liked to do before you got sick. Even just saying "You should go to a yoga class today at your gym" or something thoughtful makes them feel less guilty about leaving you for a few hours and lets them know that you are looking out for them too.

Spa Day

via adayatthespa.com

"Being a caregiver is a very difficult job. I have good and bad days, this week has been particularly difficult. Someone for a mani and pedi for me. Best gift ever! My father-in-law makes us meat for the week and delivers it on Saturday morning. I only have to worry about the sides. Best gift ever! My mother asks me every day, how are you? Even something so simple - best gift ever!" - amontoya

3. Say 'Thank you' often.

Being a caregiver is a tough job, stressful, tiring, etc. Let them know that you appreciate them. You might assume they know this, but they will love to hear it.

Say Thank You To Yoru Caregiver

via noozhawk.com 

"My husband has been a bundle of nerves since I told him of my diagnosis. Most days he is OK but sometimes he just loses it. That is why I try to say thank you as much as I can so he knows his efforts are appreciated and he is not an emotional basket case for nothing!" - Rubies

4. Arrange for a break for your caregiver. 

You can arrange for a break for your caregiver by having someone else come in and give them a break. Another member of the family, a friend, or a hired service.

Arrange For A Break

via caringon.com

"I think caregivers do need breaks from their "job." I would check to see if anyone could help me take the day or night off. If you or your loved one are affiliated with a church, they may be able to help out." - cam32505

5. Try not to be totally dependent on them.

Depending on your condition if you are able to do some things yourself, try to do them for yourself. Even a little bit will be a help keep the caregiver from feeling run down. You can also seek emotional support from other friends, support groups, or on WhatNext. Having someone else to vent to may help relieve some stress that you would otherwise put on your caregiver then preserving your relationship with them.

Love Your Caregiver

via caringon.com

6. Don't forget to keep the lines of communication open.

Sometimes there can be tension between the patient and caregiver simply because dealing with cancer is stressful and emotionally taxing. Some WhatNexters say that it is hard not to snap at each other or take anger out on one another. If you keep the waves of communication open then you can vocalize to them when you feel stressed, angry, down, or overwhelmed. This will give them a heads up and help them understand better what you are going through and why you are acting the way you are. They will also be able to tell you how they are feeling and avoid some of that drama.

Communicate Love With Your Caregiver

via insicknessinhealth.blogspot.com

"I don't know how he (loved one with cancer) feels; I cannot understand his anger. I think he is afraid and with good reason but ignoring the issue is NOT helping. I'm exhausted, my needs are always back burner. We have no balance. I feel like I work to go home and take care of him. If he would only communicate with me I think this would be a lot easier." - anonymous

7. Do something relaxing together. 

If you are feeling well enough to get out of the house, taking a walk or a drive to a park or through the countryside will be a break from the constant thinking about cancer, good for both of you.

Caregiver And Patient On A Walk

via wired.com

"Being a caregiver is very difficult for all involved.I swear all I do is fill out paper work, make phone calls, and wait for emails. The financial burden is unbearable. I have not broke down in front of him (husband with cancer) but that is why being able to do something other than deal with cancer problems is so helpful for both of us." - brshja

8. When you feel good enough, do something thoughtful for them.

When you can, do something nice for them. Get up early and make breakfast for your caregiver (assuming it's the spouse or someone who lives in the home). It will be a nice break and make them feel good. Other ideas are to write them a thank you note and leave it somewhere in the house, pick their favorite movie to watch that day, or ask someone to pick up dinner from their favorite restaurant as a surprise. 

Take A Trip

via 11-11productions.blogspot.com

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