Close to 29,000 Hong Kong residents are diagnosed with cancer each year. Nearly all of them need a caregiver at some point to help them pull through their cancer journey. Caregivers often experience some of the same challenges as the patient, such as emotional, physical and mental distress. As a result, they may develop various symptoms such as a weakened immune system, or become more susceptible to depression and sleep deprivation. Below are tips to help both caregivers and those who accept their care to overcome these challenges:
Learn to Listen — Encourage the person with cancer and the caregiver to share their feelings with one another. Talking can be very therapeutic.
Keep a Journal — Writing how you feel allows you to reflect and express yourself privately.
Set Goals — Whether they are short-term or long-term, reasonable goals will give both patient and caregiver something to look forward to.
Develop a Support Network — Caregiving is a demanding job, especially if you try to do it alone. It is always helpful to share the responsibilities.
Take Time for Yourself — No matter how helpful you intend to be, you also need a break. Your needs must be met as well and you will be a better caregiver by caring for yourself, too.