• How do you cope as a caregiver without the support of family?

    Asked by GoingGray on Friday, June 15, 2012

    How do you cope as a caregiver without the support of family?

    I am 36 years old and my mother was diagnosed with cancer last August. My extended family (aunts and uncles, etc.) has been anything but supportive throughout this entire process. They were already totally dysfunctional before Mom's diagnosis and this crisis is proving to worsen their behavior. They are making this more of a divided battle of who's right and who's wrong instead of making this a united battle against this disease! Is there anyone out there dealing with a similar situation that I could talk to for support and/or advice?

    8 Answers from the Community

    8 answers
    • SunnyCloud's Avatar

      Just remember that God is with you. He is all you need. Go to Him for everything. My mom & I have conversations with God on a daily basis.

      over 4 years ago
    • rickbr's Avatar

      I assume you don't have brothers or sisters who are supportive and it's just you and your mom. I would suggest that you accept the fact that your extended family will not change and that you will have to be the sole caregiver for your mom. You could make suggestions of how they could be helpful, but do not do battle with them. It's you, your mom, and the Dr's.

      over 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      I agree with what rickbr said. It they aren't going to be helpful to you and your mother, just ignore them. As you said, they were already dysfunctional before her diagnosis, so now is not the time to waste your energy trying to fix that. Check with the ACS or your mom's oncologist for support services like transportation, caregiver respite, meals, and other services that may be available in your area to assist you with caring for your mom.

      There is also an online forum for caregivers at http://www.caregiver.org It is not cancer specific but has lots of great advice from people who are primary caregivers for family members.

      over 4 years ago
    • grnygole's Avatar

      Look for support groups through the hospital or cancer care center where your mother is receiving treatment. Ask for the social worker attached to the care facility, who will be able to give you brochures, names and numbers of people who can help. Try online sources such as CancerCare and Innerman's Angels, and the American Cancer Society, to look for online, telephone or face to face local meetings for caregivers. There are also church groups that do pastoral counseling and offer help to those struggling with cancer issues. Don't be afraid to ask for help. There are many caring people in the world who want to reach out and help. Don't try to struggle alone. Sometimes strangers and professional helpers can be much more help than family. Good luck to you.

      over 4 years ago
    • caissg's Avatar

      To cope, do not try to do it alone. Your good health is important both for you and the patient, your loving mother. As many have suggested, reach out to local support groups, online support groups, ask around at the hospital, ask nurses for support group information.

      Also, are you looking to cope emotionally and mentally or need physical help or both? If it is physical help, there are lot of volunteer organizations who help. Although it would depend on the size of the city you are in.

      You are doing great! You have asked for help which means you have recognized the issue. You are already ahead of lot of other caregivers including me at your age. Wish you and your mom all the best and have many happy moments. Your mother is blessed to have a child like you and you are blessed to have a mother who raised you this well.

      over 4 years ago
    • Charlieb's Avatar

      Forget the family if they will not willing help you. Now is the time to find out who YOUR friends really are. Don't hesitate to call some one you know and ask for help and support. As a cancer patient I get my support from my higher power. For my care-giver, he needs physical support and gets it from our friends. Both of our families live out of town and have been emotionally supportive, but it is not practical to ask them to come here and help out. If you don't have friends that will help, then do as nancyjac suggests and find a support group.

      over 4 years ago
    • akristine's Avatar

      I had a friend with the same problem: no one would step forward to help her mother when she was ill and dying, and my friend needed to work to provide some kind of income. So she gathered the rest of the family together and told them how much it would cost monthly to care for their mother/grandmother/sister/aunt. She gave the family members the option of caring for the patient in one of their homes or leaving her where she was. No one offered their home. She then explained the cost of a professional caregiver who could give the meds at the appropriate times and monitor the patient's health. Then she handed them copies of the bill. Each family member was invoiced equally for their share of the care. In exchange for weekly laundry, shopping, overnight caregiver relief or any other duties, the invoiced amount would be reduced. Then she waited and said nothing. It was amazing how well the family came together when they were faced with this option. No one wanted to look bad in front of the other family members. My friend had the help she needed, her mother was cared for and everyone shouldered the responsibilities. It may not work for you but it's worth a shot. Good luck!

      over 4 years ago
    • GoingGray's Avatar

      Thank you all for your kind and helpful words. The support I wish I had is more of an emotional support than physical help. The family does help out when it comes to transportation and they were helping me some financially. The problem really is that I am pretty much the only person that my mom wants to be with her at her appointments when she goes to see her doctor. When I have to relay anything that was said at these visits, the family accuses me of either lying or witholding information. My mom is still mentally competent and perfectly capable of speaking on her own behalf but for some reason, her own siblings refuse to believe even what she tells them! It is all very sad and it breaks my heart because they have all become very paranoid in a way and instead of rallying together to take care of mom they really are going to push her away in a time when she needs them most. We are both God Fearing people and have our relationships with Christ to get us through, I just wish we had the love and support of the family that is supposed to be here for us! I do have wonderful friends that help emotionally but there is something just heartbreaking when the ones you thought would always have your back are the ones stabbing you in it. Thank you all again for your advice and listening!

      over 4 years ago

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