By Christine Healy
November is Caregiver Appreciation Month and we would like to honor and show our appreciation to all of our Moffitt caregivers. Caregiving is a general term that can sometimes be misunderstood. In some instances, it describes physical care but there are many other levels of caregiving.
When a family member or loved one is diagnosed with cancer, everyone is involved. Emotional support can be the number one gift that a caregiver may offer. Often in our caregiver groups we talk about the many roles the caregiver plays. Chauffer, cook, coach, listener, companion and nurse are just some of the hats the caregiver may wear. It doesn’t matter that the caregiver is not themselves the patient, their lives may be completely changed due to their need or wish to be of help.
It is sometimes difficult for caregivers to admit they are stressed or tired. There are sometimes feelings of guilt for being healthy. It is difficult to share one’s feelings with the patient and they may feel it insensitive or burdensome. They need a safe place to release their own feelings of stress, sadness or fear.
We encourage our caregivers to reach out and utilize all of the available supports we provide here at Moffitt. Social Work, Integrative Medicine, Arts and Medicine and the Patient Library all have resources to support you. November may be the month designated to highlight the need to appreciate and thank our caregivers but we would like to recognize their commitment and sacrifice all year long.
We're hosting a Caregiver Panel in the Owl’s den at Moffitt’s Magnolia campus on Monday, Nov. 20, from 9 a.m. to noon. There will be four caregivers in attendance who will share their caregiving experiences as well as an opportunity for discussion. Light refreshments will be served. Please call our social worker at (813) 745-8407 to RSVP.