Support for Caregivers
An important component in someone’s “fight against cancer” is his or her support network. Often times, there is one key person or caregiver that is there for the day-to-day. Together, the two seem to have it under control -whether they want it that way or because they don’t realize that there is another way.
I wouldn’t have considered myself Kevin’s “caregiver,” but rather his primary “supporter.” Kevin made all of the decisions in terms of his treatment and his care, but I was there for the every day -whether it be getting dinner together, driving him to appointments, or just to talk. But together we had it covered. It was difficult to answer when others asked “how can I help?” I knew how to get to his appointments, and where to park so Kevin could rest on the way to treatment if that was how he was feeling that day. I knew when to ask if he was hungry and wanted food, or when to just leave him alone. I knew that sometimes a foot massage, a back rub or a head massage might be the best remedy.
We really had it down to a science and there was no need to ask. I just knew. We did have friends that were willing to help, and when my schedule required it, we called on them. But we did not ask them regularly because it seemed like an imposition to ask anyone to drive Kevin the 45 minutes to an appointment in downtown Los Angeles that would only take 15 minutes, unless the equipment broke, and then it would take an hour plus or just be canceled, and then drive the 45 minutes back home again.
I have received calls from caregivers over the years looking for support- financial, emotional, and physical. Dana reached out because she had recently saved house from foreclosure and now her sister, who was a mother of three, was diagnosed with breast cancer and they would all need to move in with her. Dana was trying to find financial support for herself, as the caregiver, so that she could take care of her sister and the children. It is difficult to find meaningful financial support for cancer patients, so what could possibly be available for the caregivers? In fact, it is even difficult to find a support group for caregivers.
While we cannot provide direct financial support, the Elixir Fund Registry allows caregivers to empower their support network- whether it is friends and family, or the community- to help meet some of their day-to-day needs and thus allow them to preserve the financial resources they do have. Through the Elixir Fund Registry, caregivers can get help for things like meals, transportation, and housekeeping. A caregiver can sign up for restaurant gift certificates so that there is a hot, healthy meal on the table even on the toughest or busiest days. A caregiver can let friends know they need help with rides to treatment or they can register for gift certificates to a local cab company. Maybe the person going through treatment thinks their caregiver needs a break. If so, then the patient can sign the caregiver up for a massage gift certificate or a manicure/pedicure. The registry is designed to support the whole family.
The Elixir Fund Registry is available and we are ready to help. As a caregiver or a friend of a caregiver, all you have to do is take that first step and contact us, and we will get you started.