Caring for the caregiver
on being a “caregiver”
“I decided that I would become Deb's cancer caddie.”
Being a caregiver can be challenging. It’s normal for you to feel nervous or overwhelmed about what is expected of you. And your role changes as your loved one’s needs change. By supporting a friend or family member receiving DARZALEX®, you can have a positive impact and influence on him or her.
Your loved one may have questions about different aspects of treatment. Your support and knowledge can help him or her during this time.
By providing encouragement and support, you can help your loved one stick with his or her treatment plan and take other steps to get well, such as eating right or dealing with certain emotions. There’s no way to anticipate everything you’ll need to know as a caregiver, but by becoming familiar with the disease and treatment, you can offer support to help your loved one make informed decisions.
But how do you take care of you?
Take an honest look at what you can and can't do. Be willing to let go of things that others can help you with. Some examples may be:
- Helping with chores around the house
- Running errands
- Driving to doctors’ appointments
- Staying with your loved one to give you some “me time”
Accepting help from others isn't always easy. Remember that getting help for yourself is really about helping your loved one.
As a caregiver, it can be difficult to take the time to care for and focus on yourself. It can even feel selfish at times. Self-care is an important part of doing your part. Maintaining your own health and energy allows you to more fully enjoy time with your loved one and provide the best care possible.
- Those that involve other people, such as having lunch with a friend
- Those that give you a sense of accomplishment, such as exercising or finishing a project
- Those that make you feel good or relaxed, such as watching a funny movie or taking a walk
Set aside time during the day, such as during a meal, when you do not talk about illness.
The support of friends and family can be extremely helpful to you as a caregiver. There are many kinds of support programs, including one-on-one or group counseling and support groups. Talking with other caregivers can help you feel less alone. You can also get useful ideas from others who have been in your situation.
Talk with a nurse or social worker to learn about services in your area. If you can’t visit a group in person, there are also online communities of people whose lives have been touched by cancer.
DARZALEX® patient, on the difference his caregiver makes
“She provided me with hope, the family, the support. I mean, I just—it would have been a much more difficult journey without her.”