Cancer and Caregiving
From Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor
Acting as a caregiver can look many ways. It is not necessarily providing physical care such as lifting and dressing like so many tend to believe. Caregiving frequently refers to providing emotional support and love. It can mean providing transportation, meals and maybe financial assistance. No matter the type of care, it typically means that a lot of changes are occurring for both the person receiving and the person providing care.
A study published by the American Cancer Society in 2008 discussed the relationship between caregiving and mental health. The report showed that caregivers who have emotional and problem orientated support were better able to cope with a loved one’s cancer and the pressures of caregiving. Individuals who reported skills in seeking out information also dealt with caregiving with greater ease. These skills are not innate and oftentimes adults need assistance in further developing them. The Cancer Support Community (CSC) is here to provide this support.
As a local Affiliate of the Cancer Support Community, CSC Greater Ann Arbor has caregivers covered. The CSC offers free professionally-facilitated support groups for caregivers and their family in a hybrid format allowing individuals the option to join either in-person or via Zoom. CSC’s programs and support groups are meant to increase communication, develop skills and improve coping for both the patient and caregiver. Connecting with other caregivers can provide mutual support, enhance one’s coping skills, and provide a sense of feeling heard and understood.
In the meantime, there are a few things that caregivers should always remember. Don’t forget to care about yourself! Allow yourself to accept help from others and give yourself permission to do something fun. Whether it is a simple hug or a night out with loved ones, you deserve it. Reaching out to the health care team or support services in your community like CSC of Greater Ann Arbor is important too. Connecting with others, asking questions and obtaining support is often just a phone call away. Reach out. It will make you a better caregiver and keep you healthier. Visit cancersupportannarbor.org to learn more about our programming and how we can support you.