Jun 13, 2017 10:00 AM

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Caregivers can face many challenges when someone they love has cancer. The staff of the G. Mitchell Morris Cancer Learning Center (CLC) at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) has resources for caregivers that address the following questions. These resources are all available from the CLC, and some are available online.

“How can I become a better caregiver?”

You know your loved one best, and you have cared for your loved one in other ways throughout your relationship. Trust your instincts and past knowledge about how to provide the best care. Still, it’s likely that going through cancer is a new experience for both of you. Some of the tasks you will do may be new and a bit challenging. These guides are some of our most checked-out resources to help you be a better cancer caregiver:

  • Cancer Caregiving A to Z: An At-Home Guide for Patients and Families, by American Cancer Society
  • Caregiver’s Handbook: A Practical, Visual Guide for the Home Caregiver, by DK Publishing
  • Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Ten Tips for Caregivers, by Cancer Support Community

“I want to care for my loved one but I’m having a hard time balancing everything. What can I do?”

Caring for a loved one can take its toll on you. If you take care of yourself throughout this process, you will be better equipped to take care of your loved one. The CLC has an extensive collection on self-care, and these are just a few that may be helpful:

  • Self-Care Tips for Caregivers, by HCI’s Patient Education Committee
  • A Guided Meditation to Help with Caregiver Stress, by Belleruth Naparstek
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers: 101 Stories of Love, Sacrifice, and Bonding, by Joan Lunden

“How can I help care for someone I love without being overwhelming?”

Listen to what your loved one is asking for. If you sense they are tired or need some space, respect their wishes. Although you may feel the need to do everything all at once, sometimes the patient just needs a friend to listen or some space and time alone. These resources have ideas on how to help without overwhelming your loved one:

  • There Is No Good Card for This: What To Say and Do When Life is Scary, Awful, and Unfair To People You Love, by Emily McDowell
  • 100 Questions & Answers About Caring for Family or Friends with Cancer, by Susannah Rose
  • When Someone You Love is Being Treated for Cancer, by National Cancer Institute

There is no “right” way to experience cancer, whether you’re the patient or the caregiver. Give yourself time to process your emotions, space to practice self-care, and forgiveness for the occasional mistake. When you have questions, the CLC is here to help.

Located on the sixth floor of the cancer hospital, the CLC is your source for free cancer information. Our library contains information about numerous cancer topics and our trained health educators are available to answer your questions.

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