Ask the Expert: Being a Caregiver

Question: What does it mean to be a caregiver and what can you do to be the best in your new role?

“You have a brain tumour”... five words that can bring an overwhelming sense of anxiety, fear and bewilderment. Certainly this is the case for the individual with the brain tumour, but also for their loved ones.

After the initial diagnosis, the focus is on the patient’s needs, treatment and other decisions. But as the caregiver, you need to ensure that your needs are given priority too because it’s important for the patient that their caregivers are also well cared for. The primary caregiver may often feel overwhelmed with doctor’s visits and treatment sessions, resulting in missed time at work and contributing to a growing sense of loss of control.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help and accept help when it is offered. If there are things you need from your health care team, let them know. Additional support services may exist that you aren’t aware of.

Caregivers also need to have someone to talk to about their feeling and emotions. Sharing your fears and concerns with someone you feel comfortable talking to can be very helpful in supporting your emotional health and maintaining your overall wellbeing. Some caregivers have found other ways to reduce stress like journaling, yoga or art therapy.

Caring for your own physical needs is also important. Eating properly, resting and regular moderate exercise will help maintain your stamina.

As a caregiver to someone living with a brain tumour, your physical, emotional and psychological well-being is as important as that of your patient. Ensuring that you keep well throughout this journey will mean an enhanced quality of life for everyone in the family.

Help patients and families affected by a brain tumour by making a gift today.
You can download this information as a Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada Information Sheet (pdf). 

A special thank you to Maureen Daniels, Coordinator for the Gerry & Nancy Pencer Brain Tumor Centre in Toronto, Ontario for generously offering her time to provide this important  information for caregivers. Maureen also volunteers as a member of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s Professional Advisory Group.

Return to Information Sheets here.

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