Caregiving can be a full-time job, but help is available for this very important role.

If you are helping to care for a loved one with cancer, you are a “caregiver.” You may see what you’re doing as something natural: taking care of someone you love. Still, for many people, caregiving isn’t easy. But there are many things you can do to make it less difficult.

This e-booklet is designed to help you, the caregiver. It is filled with tips from the professional oncology social workers at CancerCare, a national nonprofit organization that has helped people with cancer and their caregivers for more than 70 years. Our social workers are specially trained to help people cope with the emotional and practical challenges of cancer.

Read this e-booklet straight through, or refer to different sections as you need them. Some sections may not apply to your situation. Use this booklet in whatever way works best for you. Be sure to talk with your loved one often about what he or she feels would be most helpful.

The Role of the Caregiver

Caregivers provide important emotional, practical and physical care for a person with cancer. Often, caregivers are family members or friends. They may live nearby or far away from the person they care for.

There are many different ways to be a caregiver. Caregiving can mean helping your loved one with daily activities, such as getting to the doctor or preparing meals. It can also mean helping the person cope with feelings that come up during this time.

The kind of support that a caregiver provides will be different for each person. In general, caregiving tasks fall into three categories: medical, emotional and practical. This e-booklet provides many examples of things in each of these categories that caregivers can do to help.