Resources For Caregivers
Caregivers are a vital source of support to women with ovarian cancer. We’ve got resources to help you.
A role as a caregiver may be new and intense to you. Oftentimes, caregivers also serve as advocates, as well.
Thankfully, there are many resources available for caregivers. In this section, you’ll find local, web and book resources that offer education and support to caregivers. MOCA is here for you.
The Men of MOCA is a group of men who are caregivers and support persons for women with ovarian cancer. To connect with a Men of MOCA Mentor or find out about our upcoming activities, contact us or call the MOCA office at (612) 822-0500.
Top Tips for Caregivers
Be there with compassion and understanding but put aside your desire to help. This will allow your partner, family member, or friend the time to reach a healthier state of mind. The first few weeks and months after diagnosis are often a blur for families. Remember that every family is different and that it is important to ask the family how they would like for you to be involved. Always assure the family that you are there to help them in any way that you can. It is also helpful to develop a list of things that you can do in case they cannot think of anything.
Help to establish a method of communication
You can offer to be the person who gets on the phone to friends and gives updates. You can create a blog, website, or email list where friends and family can go to for information. This is a valuable tool for a patient who may not have the energy to speak with everyone.
Learn about the patient’s diagnosis and treatment via the Internet or library. Do your homework and you will be doing her a favor. A good resource is the American Cancer Society website, which explains topics from cancer to diagnosis to treatment.
Please be considerate of her feelings. If she requests that no visitors come by the hospital, then please don’t go. If she does, however, request that you come and see her, please do. She will be happy to see your smiling face.
Children and other family members
No matter what you do, always remember that all family members need TLC too. It is very important to not disregard children. Their young minds can only comprehend the fact that mom/grandma is sick, yet they yearn for attention. You should also remember that older family members need support as well. You could offer to stay with the patient’s parents, take them out for coffee, or even be an emotional outlet for a sister or brother.
Daily life moves forward
Daily tasks such as preparing meals, mowing the lawn, grocery shopping, and carpooling the kids can be done by organizing a pool within the neighborhood to disperse these various tasks among the neighbors.
Time is precious
Due to the stresses of a family member with cancer, marriages can often become strained. Perhaps you can buy a gift certificate to a restaurant, babysit if needed, or buy a night at a local hotel for a couple to escape their stress for an evening. All of these things can help a couple become reconnected during such a stressful time.
Keep them busy
During this process, she will spend a great deal of time waiting — in the doctor’s office, in the infusion room, etc. You can send over some great books, good articles, help her to get her computer set up for wireless Internet, find puzzle books, or buy her a journal. All of these will help pass the time.
If you are great with paperwork, one big task that often is very overwhelming for families is the insurance paperwork and bills. You can offer to come in once a week and organize them for her in binders if you, and she, are comfortable with it.
The bills that arrive as a result of cancer treatment create a huge strain on a family’s finances. You can help by gathering a group of friends together and organizing a fundraiser and then buy gift cards to the local grocery store. Even $20 gift cards can buy milk and laundry detergent. Every little bit helps.
Talk about something else
Always acknowledge the patient’s struggle, but she may want to hear about what is going on in your life. She does not need you to solve everything for her, but may just need you to talk to her about some great movies, the news, or what’s happening in the world today.
Cancer doesn’t end once active treatment is over
Like most crisis situations, many people are there in the beginning and once things calm down, they are nowhere to be found. Be there to listen for what happens after treatment. That is an important role you can play for a friend.
Most of all, recognize that anything you do, whether it be large or small, can only help a friend in a time of need. That is truly a gift that she will need as she goes through her illness.
Source: Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance.
Family Caregiver Alliance, an information clearinghouse for caregivers, offers a navigator to help find resources and services in your area and access to discussion groups. Visit site.
Caregiver Action Network offers support and resources for those caring for the seriously ill. Visit site.
National Alliance for Caregiving provides support to family caregivers and increases awareness of issues facing family caregivers. Visit site.
The Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance’s website offers a robust section of resources directed at caregivers. Visit site.
Family Caregiving 101 is a joint program of the National Family Caregivers Association and the National Alliance for Caregiving, designed to provide caregivers with the tools, skills, and information they need to protect their own physical and mental health while they provide care for a loved one. Visit site.
Well Spouse Association is a support organization for partners of the chronically ill. Visit site.
Source: Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance