BE THE #1 SUPPORTER
Step into the shoes of a supportive caregiver without burning out, emotionally and physically.
What you can do for friends and family who are fighting cancer.
Cancer does not just affect the patient, but also the people they lean on. Dr Azura Rozila Ahmad recommends setting up a support system from the very start, once the cancer’s been diagnosed. As a supporter, you have such an important task of helping your loved one keep her spirits up. As the big ‘C’ can be hard to accept and overcome, you’ll be providing her with the emotional and physical support she needs to keep fighting and get back on her feet.
Adapting to changes
Naturally, there would be changes to your loved one’s routine and health needs. As a caregiver, you’ll also have to prepare for a shift in your daily schedule and overall lifestyle to accommodate your loved one.
The National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NC SM) suggests doing these to help you and your loved one adjust:
• Have a diet rich in good protein to increase the body’s energy to fight cancer cells. Add more fruits and vegetables, too, as they’re high in antioxidants.
• Get out and about with simple workouts that are not too taxing. The intensity can be gradually adjusted as your loved one goes through her regimen of treatments. Even walking around the house is good exercise to keep her fit.
• Connect with other caregivers, support groups, patients and family members who’ve been through a similar experience.
Caregivers need support, too
Dr Azura advises against bombarding yourself with information as you surf the web, for answers to your concerns and questions. To separate fact from fiction, NCSM proposes looking at websites that quote trusted sources, such as Cancer Research UK, Cancer Council Victoria, and the American Cancer Society. Seek help as well from counsellors in government or private hospitals. If this service isn’t available near you, get in touch with the support groups at NCSM, Breast Cancer Welfare Association Malaysia, Breast Cancer Foundation, and MAKNA.
It’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Many non-governmental organisations have resources that you can access. For instance, NCSM has a Resource and Wellness Centre for both patients and caregivers. You can also ask to be updated on public talks, workshops, and seminars to be better equipped for the good fight. To get information in a flash, pick up the phone and give MAKNA or NCSM a call – they have helplines for this purpose.