Caring for a loved one living with cancer can be stressful, frustrating, exhausting and overwhelming, to say the least. Fortunately, there are caregiver support resources that you can use to make your daily life a bit smoother while you’re in the thick of cancer treatments and procedures.
One way you can lessen your load so you have more time and energy to focus on your caregiving duties is to outsource household tasks. Here are a few caregiver support resources for the home.
Cleaning your home is a chore that often falls to the wayside quickly during caregiving, but a messy home can sometimes leave you feeling even more stressed out. Further, proper cleaning can help assure germs stay away from your immune-compromised loved one.
Find a local cleaning service and set up a weekly recurring schedule; there’s nothing quite like walking into a clean home to make you feel ready to take on your other duties. If you cannot afford cleaning services, ask a friend to help you out by taking care of the major tasks like sweeping, dusting and cleaning the bathroom.
Heading to the store to pick up items for weekly meals can be nearly impossible for caregivers. That being said, having healthy, balanced meals each day is essential to your ability to stay in peak health for your loved one. Try a grocery delivery service that brings your food directly to your door for a small fee, or order your groceries online ahead of time and pick them up at the store on your way home.
Speaking of groceries, turning those ingredients into a healthy meal can be difficult when you’re feeling exhausted. Work with friends to set up a meal plan for neighbors to drop off meals on designated days. You can even ask friends to prepare frozen meals to stock your freezer with homemade food you can warm up on an especially busy day.
Taking care of your children in the midst of your loved one living with cancer is difficult if you don’t have help. Enlist the help of friends and relatives to pick up the kids from school or shuffle them to extracurricular activities. You can even consider paying a babysitter to take them to a movie they’ve been begging to see, or to give you a moment to sneak in a nap.
Endless trips to the chemotherapy infusion center and to follow-up appointments can make you feel like you’re in the car more than out of it. Ask a friend or two to help out with driving your loved one to appointments; you’ll appreciate the break and your loved one will enjoy a new companion as well. You can even consider hiring a driver through a ride-sharing company to take your loved one to appointments, and then meet after to drive them home.
Finally, ask for help to give you time to go out for a cup of coffee or to get a massage alone. This respite time is crucial for you to avoid caregiver burnout. If a friend or family member can’t sit with your loved one, find a home care agency to give you the help you need.
It can be difficult to find ways to give yourself the bandwidth you need during this time. However, if you can outsource little tasks throughout the week, you will find you have the extra time and energy you need to support your family the way you want to.
When taking care of your loved one seems too much to handle, UVA Cancer Center has resources to support you.Learn More