Support for Caregivers
NCI Guidebook for People Helping Someone with Cancer
“This booklet is for you if you’re helping your loved one get through cancer treatment. You are a ‘caregiver.’ You may not think of yourself as a caregiver. You may see what you’re doing as something natural—taking care of someone you love. There are different types of caregivers. Some are family members, while others are friends. Every situation is different. So there are different ways to give care. There isn’t one way that works best.” There are additional resources listed in this useful booklet.
Caregivers are welcome to accompany their loved ones to any of the Nicki’s Circle Support Groups sponsored by COCA (see Nicki's Circle). Contact Katlyn Von Muenster, LPCC for more info: 720.724.8612, Katlyn@colo-ovariancancer.org.
For Kaiser Patients:
Cancer Caregiver Support Group
Kaiser Permanente Franklin Building, 2045 Franklin, Denver CO, 80205.
Basement level – Heyer Room – Call Dennis to register 303.764.5047
3rd Wednesdays of every month, 6:00-7:30 pm. (no July or August groups)
“Discussion group focusing on the struggles and anxiety that can come with being a caregiver – those affected family, friends and significant others - of people living with cancer. Being a caregiver can sometimes mean: fear and uncertainty, relationship stress, difficult decisions, financial strain, feeling alone.” Open to the community. Facilitated by Dennis Heffern, LCSW, Oncology Social Worker, 303.764.5047.
Exempla Lutheran Hospital
Circle of Support for Caregivers
Lutheran Hospital, Collier Center, 8300 W. 38th Avenue
Wheat Ridge, CO, 80033
“A support group for all those caring for a person who is chronically or seriously ill. Meets the first Tuesday of each month from 5:30 – 7 p.m. Please call 303-425-8000 at Collier Hospice Center.”
St. Joseph Hospital
Coping with Cancer Support Group
Saint Joseph Hospital, Cancer Centers of Colorado, 1825 Marion St., Denver, CO 80218, First Floor Conference Room
To register for the Coping with Cancer Support Group, please call 303-318-3449 - First Wednesday of every month, 3:00 - 4:30 p.m.
Coping with Cancer Support Group is a free community resource open to patients, survivors, caregivers and families impacted by cancer. Free of charge.
Boulder Community Hospital
Caregivers and Loved Ones Support Group
“Talk with other caregivers and loved ones who are supporting family and friends journeying through cancer. Please join us for discussion, information gathering, and support. No fee.”
Contact facilitator Claire McCorrison to register – 303.415.7964
Family and Medical Leave Act
“The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. Eligible employees are entitled to: [including] to care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition; a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job.”
Oncology Social Workers
Most medical and infusion centers have a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) on staff. These are professionals skilled in the issues that arise in the course of a cancer diagnosis, both for the patient and caregiver. They are a wealth of information and can be of great assistance. Check at your doctor‘s office for more info.
Supporting a patient through cancer treatment can be difficult for a caregiver. Here are a few tips and resources to help guide the way.
Tell friends and families that your loved one may need to scale back on holidays and parties during treatment.
Use a website to manage communications. (see mylifeline.org).
Take a break and plan time for yourself.
25 Ways to Support an Ovarian Cancer Survivor
by Susan Hess, MA, LPC
If in treatment, accompany her to chemo
Help her with a wig purchase - or buy an extra wig for her
Walk the dog
Buy her a gift card from the health food store
Sign her up for grocery delivery
Set up a website for her at www.mylifeline.org
Arrange for a house cleaning service to come in
Visit for a few hours and give her caregiver a break
Help her create a binder of all medical information
Don’t ask, “How are you doing?” every time you see her
Buy her a music CD or iTunes gift card
Buy her fashionable scarves & hats
Select an inspirational book and read it to her out loud
Bring her ice cream and milkshakes
Schedule friends to assist with house cleaning tasks
Deliver a frozen meal that can be easily cooked
Accompany her to a Nicki’s Circle support group
Help her make phone calls
Help her find alternative and complementary therapies
Look past her diagnosis and see her shining soul
Arrange for fresh flower deliveries on a weekly basis
Accompany her on a walk
Send her a card or e-card every day or week during treatment
Help her plan a schedule for visitors & assistance
Listen to her struggles and offer hope and encouragement
Online Caregiver Support
275 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10001
12-week Telephone Group for Caregivers
“CancerCare® is a national nonprofit organization that provides free, professional support services to anyone affected by cancer… CancerCare® offers a 12-week telephone group for people who have a loved one diagnosed with cancer.”
Caring for the Caregiver - Cancer Survival Toolbox® Special Topics
“Caring for the Caregiver was developed specifically to provide resources and support for cancer caregivers to help them address the issues they face on an ongoing basis.”
Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Ten Tips for Caregivers booklet
“A cancer caregiver is anyone who provides physical, emotional, financial, spiritual or logistical support to a loved one with cancer.”
Cancer.net – Caring for a Loved One
Information on topics including: “Being a Caregiver, Tips for Caregiving, How Caregivers Can Take Care of Themselves, Exploring New Caregiver Options, Sharing Responsibilities, Caregiving at the Hospital, Providing Care at Home, Long-Distance Caregiving, Parenting While Caring for a Parent With Cancer, Young Adults Caring for a Parent With Cancer, Adjusting to Life After Caregiving, Online Resources for Caregivers.”
Ovarian Cancer: Helping Caregivers Communicate and Cope
By Sandra Ray, Staff Writer at Caregiver.com
Ovarian cancer may be difficult for many people to discuss. Experts say one reason is that caregivers have a natural protective tendency, feeling that the more the cancer is discussed the more stress it causes . . .
Well Spouse Association
“Supports ‘well’ individuals caring for a spouse or partner with a chronic illness or disability.”
Lotsa Helping Hands
“Lotsa Helping Hands is a free service that brings together caregivers and volunteers through online communities that help organize daily life during times of medical crisis or caregiver exhaustion.
“Help for Cancer Caregivers is a unique collaboration of organizations with a shared goal of improving the health and well-being of the people who care for people with cancer.”
Caregiver Action Network (CAN)
“CAN is a non-profit organization providing education, peer support, and resources to family caregivers across the country free of charge.”