Supporting our carers
Collecting medication, cooking a meal, or driving someone to an appointment are all acts of caring. However, many people who do these kinds of things for someone close to them living with cancer do not consider themselves to be carers.
At Maggie’s, we know how important the support of family and friends is to a person living with cancer. On a practical level, it is impossible to think about how many people would manage without the friend who drives them to the hospital, the sister that fills their freezer full of food, or the son who looks after life admin while their parent copes with the side effects of treatment.
The emotional support from family and friends is just as important. The hug with no words needed, the listening ear without interruption, or the shoulder to cry on in those hardest of times.
But ask any of these people if they are a carer and they would probably say no. They quite likely think a carer is a person who helps someone with all the most basic tasks of daily living – getting washed, getting dressed, or even feeding.
And yes those people are carers, but so are all the people who help someone living with cancer in any number of other ways.
So, as this week is Carer’s Week (June 7 – 13), I want to call attention to all those carers who would never consider themselves to be so and I want them to know that we are there for them as well.
Self-care is a well-worn phrase these days, but that is not without reason. In order to be able to look after someone living with cancer, a friend or family member needs to take care of themselves first.
Only then will they have the energy required to take care of another.
And it is well known that one of the biggest worries for people living with cancer is the welfare of their family and friends, an emotional strain people could do without when undergoing treatment.
That is why our support has always been for the person living with cancer, as well as family and friends.
If we, Maggie’s, support the carer, they, in turn, are in the best place to help a person having treatment, who is able to stop worrying about their family and friends because they know they are being supported and looking after themselves. In the same way, the pressure on the carer eases if they know their friend or family member is being supported by Maggie’s.
We can help people manage relationships as they are undoubtedly put under pressure when someone is living with cancer, we can help with money worries and give you information on where you can get more help with the practicalities of helping someone.
Equally importantly though we can help people with their own self-care as they look after someone they love. We offer stress management, relaxation, eating well classes and much more, including just being with other people in our centres who are going through something similar.
So please remember, even if you don’t feel like you can call yourself a carer, if you are helping a family member or friend through a cancer diagnosis in anyway, then we are here with you too.
Here with you
Find out more about managing practically and emotionally when you are family or a friend of someone with cancer.