Caring for Caregivers because you Care
The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) places the spotlight on caregivers this CANSA Care Week 1 – 7 August 2014. A caregiver is anyone who cares, without being paid, for a friend or family member who is fighting cancer and cannot cope without support.
“We feel that sometimes caregivers’ loving care and support, which they lend to those affected by cancer, can go unnoticed. We really hope to change that; the wellbeing of a caregiver is just as important as that of the survivor they are caring for. This CANSA Care Week, we want to encourage everyone to celebrate and salute all caregivers,” according to CANSA Acting CEO Elize Joubert.
Caregivers come from all walks of life, all cultures and ages. Many feel they are doing what anyone else would in the same situation – looking after their loved ones, a best friend or even colleagues and just getting on with it.Some caregivers don’t choose to become caregivers; it often just happens.
Joubert adds, “More than 60% of our volunteers are dedicated to helping our CANSA staff with care and support service as well as promoting health while many help with other projects.” Visit http://www.cansa.org.za/cansa-care-centres-contact-details/ for more information.
Many caregivers often experience compassion fatigue when they neglect their own self-care, in favour of putting most of their effort and focus on caring for someone else – this is known as caregiver burnout. Burnout describes the end result of stress in the life of a caregiver and combines emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation and low personal accomplishment.
CANSA’s Top Tips for Caregivers:
- Find Support: Talk to others who are in a similar situation. This can help you to cope with common feelings of anger, guilt, isolation, fear, sadness, or anticipatory grief.
- Know when you are stressed: Know the signs of stress (which include feeling exhausted; getting sick more often; sleeplessness; impatience, irritability, or forgetfulness).
- Take time out: Make time for yourself and others. Although a person who has cancer may have many needs that require your attention, it’s important for you to make time for yourself. Spend time doing something you enjoy, with the people you love.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself: Be kind and patient with yourself. It’s normal to experience occasional bouts of anger or frustration, along with the guilt for having those feelings. Try to find a positive way to deal with these feelings.
- Take care of yourself: Make time to exercise, eat healthy foods, stay hydrated, and get enough sleep.
- Stay positive: Having a positive attitude can help set the tone for everything you do and take on.
“A fun way for cancer survivors and their caregivers to get involved with CANSA and to receive the recognition they deserve, is through CANSA’s Relay For Life national project. It’s a unique event that is fun-filled, takes place overnight where teams enter to raise cancer awareness and funds to fight cancer. The event emphasises cancer survivorship, is volunteer driven and community owned,” encourages Joubert.
CANSA invites all survivors and their caregivers to a Relay in their community – a CANSA Relay For Life event opens with a ‘Survivors’lap,that celebrates cancer survivors. This is followed by a ‘Caregivers’lap, to honour all caregivers who lend care and support to those affected by cancer. Visit www.relayforlife.org.za for more information.Follow CANSA on Twitter: @CANSA (http://www.twitter.com/@CANSA) and join CANSA on Facebook:CANSAThe Cancer Association of South Africa
(For more information, please contact Lucy Balona, Head: Marketing and Communication at CANSA or email: firstname.lastname@example.org, call 011 616 7662 or cell: 082 459 5230. Or visit www.cansa.org.za or call CANSA toll-free 0800 22 66 22, or email: email@example.com)
CANSA offers a unique integrated service to the public and all people affected by cancer. As a leading role-player in cancer research (more than R5 million spent annually), the scientific findings and knowledge gained from our research are used to realign our health programmes as well as strengthen our watchdog role to the greater benefit of the public. Our wide-reaching health programme comprises health and education campaigns; over 30 CANSA Care Centres that offer stoma support and organisational management; medical equipment hire; a toll-free line and support to those affected by cancer; patient care and support in the form of 12 CANSA Care Homes in the main metropolitan areas for out-of-town cancer patients plus one hospitium based in Polokwane, as well as CANSA-TLC lodging for parents and guardians of children undergoing cancer treatment. Read more about how CANSA fights cancer in your community. For more info visit http://www.cansa.org.za or contact CANSA toll-free 0800 22 66 22 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow CANSA on Twitter and join CANSA on Facebook and on Pinterest.