November is National Family Caregivers Month, and Leonard Cancer Institute wants to celebrate and thank the over 44 million Americans a year who fill this vital, often thankless, role.

Caregiving is a tough job, especially for those who are caring for a person during cancer treatment. This November, we shine a well-deserved light on those people who drive patients to appointments, bathe their loved ones, go shopping, make meals, clean homes, and provide the love, hugs, and companionship that are so necessary during a battle with cancer.

Caring For Yourself So You Can Care For Others

Wellness is a core value at Leonard Cancer Institute, carrying into everything from patient care to providing support for their loved ones and caregivers. As a caregiver, you also have to consider self-care during these trying times.

This year’s theme for National Caregivers Month is “Caregiving is Around the Clock.” Considering the truth of this theme, here are a few things you can do to ensure you’re caring for yourself so you can continue to care for your loved one:

Take naps and walks

Many caregivers work outside the home, either part- or full-time. But, unlike traditional jobs, caregiving is often a 24-hour responsibility. That means you have to know when you need breaks. Naps and walks can give you the rest and time away you need to recover and re-energize.

Attend caregiving workshops and activities

These activities and workshops are available at Leonard Cancer Institute and at some local senior centers, community health departments, and senior-focused non-profits. Learn about these by searching online for upcoming workshops in your area.

Ask for help

Asking for help is part of self-care. This help can include a family member, friend, or hired caregiver who can step into the role when you need a deserved break. You should also closely monitor yourself for depression. If you do find yourself battling depression, counselors and mental health professionals, including psychologists and psychiatrists, are available at Leonard Cancer Institute to help.

Remember your life

What things did you love to do before caregiving took so much of your time? Go to the movies? Cook a nice meal? Hit the beach or head out fishing on the ocean? Try to schedule one of these activities into your week or at least every other week. It’ll make you and your caregiving better.

You’re Vital and Valued

The 2015 National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP Study Report estimates around 7% of the nation’s general population is a family caregiver of a loved one with cancer. That means you’re not alone as a caregiver; you’re a part of an elite group of people doing very important work. While this work can be exhausting, trying, and strain relationships, it shows a level of love that shines brighter than any disease or condition.

Celebrate this. Celebrate you and your work as a caregiver.

Additional Caregiver Resources This National Family Caregivers Month

For more information and caregiving resources, please visit caregiving.org or feel free to reach out to Leonard Cancer Institute directly at (844) 959-HOPE or message us on social media. We’re here for you whenever and however you need us.

You can also reach out to the Cancer Hope Network, and you or your family member can be matched with trained volunteers who have undergone a similar experience.

Once again, thank you from all of us at Leonard Cancer Institute for playing such a valuable role in our patients’ battle against this all-too-common disease.