A study from the Journal of Family Nursing (JFN, November, 1998 Vol.4, Issue 4) provides a glimpse into the life of a cancer caregiver. This study examined caregiver characteristics and needs through a questionnaire administered to 750 cancer caregivers who participated in the University of Pennsylvania Family Caregiver Cancer Education Program.
Who Are the Caregivers
Are you taking care of a loved one with cancer? You are not alone. More than 1.3 million cases of cancer are diagnosed each year. Studies suggest that at least 50 percent of those diagnosed with cancer will be cared for by someone in their immediate family.
Who are the cancer caregivers?
A Day in the Life of a Cancer Caregiver
What don’t you do? As a cancer caregiver, you spend your days preparing meals, cleaning, providing transportation, talking to health care providers, administering medication, and making sure their loved one gets everything they need. Cancer caregivers find the time to do it all…everything but take care of themselves.
Consequences of Cancer Caregiving
The Journal of Family Nursing study detailed the impact of providing care on cancer caregivers’ physical, emotional, and financial health. The results are staggering, and indicate that the caregiver needs to take care of his or herself.
The Benefits of Caregiver Support Systems
Evidence shows that community-based education and support for caregivers may help relieve the stresses associated with providing care for a loved one with cancer.
In fact, caregivers who participated in, and evaluated the University of Pennsylvania program, reported significant increases in the degree to which they felt informed about and confident in their ability to provide care.
If you are a caregiver of a loved one with cancer, be sure to care for yourself. You are too important to suffer stress-related illness.