What Are Support Options for Lung Cancer Caregivers?
Every day as a lung cancer caregiver may look different, and as a result, things can feel overwhelming and stressful. Family caregivers often have to cope with the reality that their loved one is facing a devastating diagnosis while also standing by their side to complete day-to-day tasks.
Because of these physical and emotional responsibilities, caregivers of lung cancer patients may experience burnout, depression, financial concerns, and more.
For this reason, it is important for lung cancer caregivers to find help through:
- Family and friends, which can help caregivers manage heavy emotions
- Lung cancer foundations, which can provide educational information and treatment grants
- Support groups, which can help them feel less alone and connected to others facing similar challenges
These are just a few examples of support resources available. If you are a lung cancer caregiver, you don’t have to handle everything by yourself. There are tips, resources, and a community of those affected by lung cancer here to offer support.
Further, if someone you loved developed lung cancer from asbestos exposure, you and your family may be eligible for life-changing financial assistance. See if you are eligible with a free case review today.
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Tips for Lung Cancer Caregivers
While caregiving can be extremely rewarding in the long term, there are many difficulties that lung cancer caregivers can face along the way.
To combat these hardships, here are a few tips to help caregivers for lung cancer patients.
1. Educate Yourself and Family Members About Lung Cancer
Learning about your loved one’s lung cancer diagnosis can help you prepare for caregiving both during and after treatment.
For example, understanding common treatment side effects, like nausea and fatigue, can help you as a lung cancer caregiver provide nutritious meals that won’t make side effects worse.
Understanding the disease can also help you avoid cancer care challenges. For example, caregivers of loved ones with mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive cancer caused by asbestos, told researchers in a 2022 study they had little knowledge of the cancer at first and wanted to know more before caregiving.
Similarly, learning as much as you can about caring for someone with lung cancer shortly after a diagnosis can help you provide the best care possible.
It may also be helpful to talk with children in the family about how routines may change while your loved one fights lung cancer.
2. Join a Lung Cancer Caregiver Support Group
Lung cancer caregivers are at risk of serious mental health struggles, including post-traumatic stress, depression, and anxiety, as noted by a 2022 Front Psychiatry report. All of these can greatly impact your quality of life and ability to care for your loved one.
Experts highly recommend family caregivers join a lung cancer support group to manage their mental health.
Some support groups meet online or in person and offer a great way for caregivers to speak about their worries in a safe and understanding environment.
Notable lung cancer caregiver support groups include:
- Cancer Care: Here you’ll find a support group led by oncology (cancer) social workers, where loved ones and patients can learn more about cancer and the different educational and supportive resources available to them.
- LUNGevity: This organization offers online forums and support groups as well as a LifeLine program that provides one-on-one mentoring for lung cancer caregivers.
- Nothing Small About It: This support group is specifically for the family members and caregivers of patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC).
3. Ask for Help
Remember, dealing with a loved one’s lung cancer diagnosis is hard. You are not expected to do it all without feeling any of the emotional and physical impact. There is no shame in asking for help from other family members, neighbors, or friends.
Talking to loved ones about the diagnosis can open up further options for support. Family members and friends may offer to help you with various caregiving tasks or cook meals on some nights of the week.
Simply asking a friend to offer a listening ear can make a big difference for your mental health. Seeing a therapist or counselor could be even more beneficial if you’re having severe mental health struggles.
You can also get help through professional caregiving services, allowing you to ease your stress and take some time to care for yourself.
4. Set Aside Time Each Week for Self-Care
Self-care is crucial if you’re caring for someone with mesothelioma. By caring for yourself, you can recharge, relieve stress, and in turn provide the best care possible for the person you love who’s fighting lung cancer.
Practical self-care practices can be as simple as eating a good nutritious meal or stretching.
Other self-care options include:
- Drinking plenty of water throughout the day
- Getting exercise or light movement
- Going to bed early when you can
- Listening to music or podcasts that you enjoy
- Prepping meals or signing up for a meal plan service
- Scheduling breaks so you can enjoy your hobbies
- Setting reminders to eat throughout the day
- Talking with a therapist or a friend
These habits can make a huge difference in your life and how you feel on a day-to-day basis.
5. Consider Using a Caregiver App
Phone apps can help you stay organized, manage time, connect with other caregivers, and communicate with your loved one’s health care team.
Caregiver apps include:
- Caring Village: This app is especially useful for coordinating patient care, communicating with family members, storing medical records, and helping caregivers stay organized.
- Lotsa Helping Hands: This app brings together caregivers, patients, friends, and family who want to help with or stay informed about the patient’s care.
- Medisafe: This app is for medication management and allows both the patient and caregiver to access prescriptions, appointments, and other important information needed for their care.
6. Seek Financial Help
Family caregivers often experience financial stress from being unable to work while caring for their loved one. Out-of-pocket costs or unexpected expenses could also contribute to financial stress.
In fact, family caregivers often spend $7,200 each year while caring for their loved ones, according to a study from AARP.
These costs might be even higher for lung cancer caregivers. Without health insurance, lung cancer treatment can cost $140,000 according to the American Cancer Society, and this doesn’t even include transportation to and from appointments and other expenses.
Thankfully, caregivers for lung cancer patients may be able to access financial support resources — including health insurance, charity payouts, and legal claims — to cover many of the costs.
Lung Cancer Group can help you pursue financial aid right now if you’re qualified. Get started with a free case review.
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- Learn About Your Options
- Contact Us for Free
Support for Lung Cancer Caregivers
In addition to the tips above, caregivers can also get support through lung cancer organizations, accessing respite care, and getting advice from books and podcasts.
Lung Cancer Foundations
Lung cancer foundations can help patients and caregivers find information about top treatments and clinical trials, resources to cover expenses, and other educational information.
Lung cancer organizations include:
- American Cancer Society (ACS): This organization is one of the leaders in cancer research and support, providing caregivers with the latest information and support programs like transportation assistance and more.
- American Lung Association (ALA): ALA’s Patient & Caregiver Network connects those impacted by lung cancer and other lung diseases to educational resources and a nationwide community of fellow fighters.
- Lung Cancer Foundation of America: This organization connects patients and caregivers to easy-to-understand treatment research and financial assistance options for prescriptions or treatments.
Some foundations also have grants to help lung cancer patients and their caregivers pay for treatment.
Respite Care Services
Respite care services allow caregivers to get a break and avoid getting burnt out.
Lung cancer caregivers can access respite care through:
- Home health agencies, like Visiting Angels or other local services
- Medicare, which is offered to patients who qualify for hospice care
- The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), if a loved one is a U.S. veteran with lung cancer
Podcasts about cancer caregiving can offer tips from others who have walked through the caregiver’s journey.
Caregiver podcasts include:
- Happy Healthy Caregiver: This podcast focuses on tips and advice for caregivers to help them find a healthy balance between life and caregiving, and features such topics as “Recovering from Burnout” and “Balancing Life as a Young Carer.”
- Healing Ties: Chris MacLellan, the host of this podcast, spent years as a caregiver to his partner with terminal cancer, and uses those experiences to provide advice and insight to current caregivers.
- Cancer Out Loud: The Cancer Care Podcast: This podcast brings together all those affected by cancer, from cancer survivors to caregivers, to spread hope and healing by sharing personal experiences.
Books written by and for cancer caregivers can help new caregivers learn what to expect, provide advice and answers, and help address their concerns and well-being.
Caregiver books include:
- Faith and a Tube of Lipstick: A Daughter’s Memoir of Hope Through Cancer, Caregiving, and Grief by Marla Lackey: This book is a personal account of a woman in her thirties who suddenly found herself in the role of caregiver while her mother fought breast cancer.
- My Aging Parent Needs Help!: 7 Step Guide to Caregiving with No Regrets, More Compassion, and Going from Overwhelmed to Organized by Cynthia Kaye: This book is for people who are brand new to caregiving and focuses on tips for helping ill or elderly parents.
- Cancer Caregiving A-to-Z: An At-Home Guide for Patients and Families by the American Cancer Society: This book provides advice and tips for both cancer patients and their caregivers, and is delivered in an alphabetical, easy-to-read format.
We Are Here to Help Lung Cancer Caregivers
If you are a lung cancer caregiver and are feeling stressed, isolated, or overwhelmed, you are not alone.
Fortunately, there is a large community of caregivers and supportive care workers available to provide resources and a support system to those who are struggling.
Whether through connecting with a community of lung cancer caregivers at a support group or through talking with family and friends about your experience, help is available.
Additionally, Lung Cancer Group may be able to help you access financial assistance after a loved one’s cancer diagnosis. Get started with a free case review now.
Lung Cancer Caregiver FAQs
How do you take care of someone with lung cancer?
If someone you love has been diagnosed with lung cancer, the best way to start caring for them is to listen to what their needs might be and how their needs might change throughout their treatment.
Every lung cancer patient will need a different level of care, but many lung cancer patients may want help running errands, cooking, and doing basic housework.
This is because lung cancer and its treatments can be physically draining, so patients may not have the strength to do simple tasks while they recover.
What does a caregiver do for a cancer patient?
A lung cancer caregiver’s responsibilities may include:
- Communicating with the cancer care team
- Driving to and from appointments
- Getting groceries
- Keeping track of medications
- Preparing meals
- Offering social and emotional support
How can I be a good caregiver for a lung cancer patient?
To be a good lung cancer caregiver, listen closely to what your loved one needs and always take care of your needs as well.
Family caregivers are at risk of experiencing burnout and severe mental health struggles, so it is crucial to take time for self-care and get connected to lung cancer support groups.