The caregiver: An unsung health care hero

Struggling with illnessCaregivers have been described as the “unsung heroes” of our health care system: they are untrained, unpaid and sacrifice so much of their own time to help their loved ones. The role of a caregiver may include providing emotional support, transportation, preparing meals, completing household chores and overseeing finances.

Being a caregiver can be difficult. Often times, caregivers report as much anxiety as the cancer patient does. They report having more difficulty with feeling alone, maintaining a strong front, and often times they miss more work and report more major impacts on the ability to do their job.

It is important for caregivers to get the help and support they need. Recommendations include keeping a journal, maintaining friendships, preserving routines and seeking respite. Realize that you cannot do it all on your own and allow others to help and reach out.

The M. Krista Loyd Resource Center at UofL James Graham Brown Cancer Center offers a variety of services for caregivers including massage therapy, art therapy and Reiki therapy. To learn more, visit UofLBrownCancerCenter.org, call the Resource Center at 502-562-4158, or visit the Resource Center on the first floor of UofL Brown Cancer Center.

There are also local support groups available for caregivers through Gilda’s Club of Louisville. Call 502-583-0075 for more information.