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What being a care partner entails

Emotional Support:

Cancer patients often go through an emotional roller coaster and can experience intense emotions like fear, anger, vulnerability, depression,  and sadness.. It’s important for a caregiver to acknowledge these emotions in their loved one, work to understand the devastation, and to be aware of any emotional changes. Here are a few tips to help guide the emotional support process:

  • Take the time to listen to the person you’re supporting. Sometimes the best thing you can do with your loved one is to just sit quietly together.
  • Be helpful in retrieving things she requests or needs.
  • Find out what gives her joy and infuse those things or experiences into her world as much as possible!
  • Touch is a really important sensation for people who are going through a hard time. A brief touch or even a gentle massage can go a long way.

Physical & Medical Support:

Throughout the cancer process, there are many physical changes that arise during chemotherapy or surgery. To accommodate these changes, caregivers play an important role by providing both physical and medical support.

  • Driving your loved one to and from where she needs to go can relieve some physical stress.
  • Helping your loved one obtain any necessary medical equipment, especially after surgery or during chemo.
  • Helping your loved one change bandages.
  • Consider providing nutritional supplements needed during their illness. We have some ideas for you here:
  • In addition, every chemotherapy treatment has side effects. For instance, hair loss is common. Helping your loved one find attractive wigs and/or scarves might impact her greatly. If she has mouth sores, look for solutions or products that may help, etc.

Practical Support:

Throughout the cancer journey, financial burdens can cause an additional amount of stress to your loved one. To help relieve these stressors, if you are able consider trying to  help take care of some of the bills.

  • Accompany your loved one to hospital visits and appointments and take notes! Having an objective listener and note taker in the room is very important to capture any details the patient may not catch. Remember, anyone told they have cancer will feel “like a deer in the headlights.” It can be hard to keep track of all the details when you’ve received this kind of traumatic news.
  • Helping your loved one find groups and other resources to help with emotional and financial burdens. Check out COCA's resources: http://www.colo-ovariancancer.org/programs/