Being a Caregiver

Providing care for your family or friend undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer is no small undertaking.

While there are professionals who can be hired as in-home caregivers (nurses, home health aides, hospice physicians), often it is a spouse, partner, child, close friend, or family member who leads the care. Playing the role of caregiver is a challenge unto itself, and can be a serious, all-encompassing commitment. It is something that few people can do alone.

Make a Plan

Caregivers need help, too. It is a simple fact that providing regular, often round-the-clock care to patients who are going through serious illnesses is a group effort. As a caretaker, while you may be the leader of that team, it is vital that you enlist others to help carry the load.

Most caregivers need to balance the demands of their professional lives with the urgency of their loved ones’ medical needs. While many employers are more than understanding during such trying times, the Family and Medical leave Act (FMLA) permits eligible employees take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during a 12 month period for specified medical reasons, which includes caring for a spouse, parent or child.

Care for Yourself

Caregiving can be as physically taxing as it is emotionally draining. As a caregiver, you need to beware of fatigue, and ensure that you find time to give yourself adequate rest. It is easy for caregivers to ignore their own physical and mental health while they prioritize the needs of their loved ones; in such moments, it is useful for caregivers to remind themselves that they will be of greater assistance the stronger and more rested they are.

Establish a Support System

Caregivers need support systems of their own. To avoid feelings of burnout, make sure to check in regularly with an intimate confidant outside of the medical process you are going through, someone who can help you maintain your own well-being.

There are also support groups and systems that exist specifically for caregivers.

Find Caregiver Support Groups