Friday, December 16, 2011

Caring for the Caregiver

I've often thought that the caregiver, or significant others of the cancer patient is often overlooked.  While the patient has a whole cadre of people who are actively fighting the disease, and has assistance, the significant others, the care givers, and often the immediate family doesn't have the support system nor the understanding that the patient has at their fingertips.

The caregiver often has to care for a very sick individual, making sure that they pick up the daily chores and responsibilities that the patient is not able to do.  They also worry, and often feel the need to make sure they stay positive while watching the ones they care for struggle through the side effects and onslaught of disease.

Dave Balch has written quite a bit on this.  In fact, he is the author of Cancer for Two and has written many articles and columns as a result of his being the caregiver during his wife's cancer.  You can read his biography here. He has also made available a free newsletter called "Caring and Coping."  He started the Patient Partner Project which has a website, and yes, you have to sign in, but there's lots of good information and assistance in dealing with the issues that those of us who are in the struggle face.  www.patientpartnerproject.org

Another is http://www.copinguniversity.com/ 

I admit, I haven't had the time to go through all of these sites and read everything...but I like what I see so far, and really...while we need to take care of ourselves, the caregiver needs some help too.  Dave Balch, who took care of his wife through four bouts of breast cancer, certainly earned his stripes.  Maybe you or someone you know can benefit from the resources he has made available.

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