Breast cancer impacts many people beyond the individual who is diagnosed. Family and friends can be strong sources of support throughout diagnosis, treatment and beyond. At the same time, caregivers may also need social support. Krista Park Berry, Susan G. Komen’s Breast Care Helpline Director, discusses the importance of caregiver support in our latest Wellness Wednesday Video.
“A caregiver can be someone caring for a spouse or a parent, an extended family member or even a friend or neighbor. Caregivers play a significant role in health care and are often a main source of valuable information about the patient for their medical team,” Krista said.
“Depending on the severity of a patient’s diagnosis, a caregiver’s duties can range from stopping by periodically to drop off groceries and to do light cleaning to providing live-in assistance with daily routines,” she said. “Part of caregiving can be providing informational support, really being there to gather the data about the diagnosis, the treatment and communicating with the medical team.”
Krista encourages caregivers to remember the importance of their health and to prioritize time for self-care.
“We always encourage caregivers to take care of their own health,” she said. “Please do find time for self-care so that you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one. Seek and take that support, accept those offers of help, even when it may be hard to.”
Caregivers can take advantage of the support resources listed on Komen’s website. Komen offers an online support community through our closed Komen MBC group. The Facebook group provides a place where those living with MBC, and those who love them, can find support, friendship and information. Visit Facebook, search for Komen Metastatic Breast Cancer (Stage IV) Group and request to join the closed group.
Krista also recommends caregivers explore the resources available through CaringBridge, Lotsa Helping Hands and Triage Cancer.
“Websites like CaringBridge and Lotsa Helping Hands can help you manage communications to family and friends, as well as set up meal trains or slots so people can help you with transportation and other activities,” Krista said.
“A lot of times, caregivers are also juggling a job or their own families on top of caregiving. When you’re a caregiver, know that there are resources you can access for taking time off work, managing finances, replacing lost wages and even estate planning.”
Komen’s Breast Care Helpline is available to help connect caregivers to support resources by calling 1-877 GO KOMEN or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.