One of the biggest challenges in asking for help is taking that first step. Given everything else you are focused on while caring for your loved one, asking others for help can take some of the pressure off you to do everything yourself. Often, people want to help but don't know how, and they will be happy to be asked to do something specific.
If friends and family members offer to help out, don’t be shy about saying yes. Whether it’s to come over for a visit or to organize meals for a week, don’t hesitate to accept offers from others. Accepting help not only allows some of the workload to be shared, but it also can reduce feelings of guilt the patient may experience as he or she sees you taking on everything.
Outside help also allows others with different skill sets to help manage tasks with which you might not have experience or expertise. Asking for help does not show that you are unable to serve as a caregiver, but rather allows you to focus on the bigger responsibilities caregivers own.
Below are online services designed to make it easy for you to ask for help from your friends and family.
- Lotsa Helping Hands: This site allows users to create an online community and post tasks with which the caregiver needs assistance. Caregivers can then send the site link to their friends and family, where individuals can sign up for tasks.
- Caring Bridge: Caring Bridge is your personal and private journal, guestbook, and photo album—all in one place. This is a great way to keep friends and family updated on your cancer caregiving journey.
- MealTrain: This website allows friends and family members to sign up to provide meals for loved ones.
While serving as a caregiver to a person with lung cancer, it is important to remember that you are fighting this disease as well. You will experience ups and downs personally as treatment progresses, and it is important to make sure that you are taking care of your own emotional health. Below are links to resources that can put you in touch with local support groups and with organizations that can connect you with other lung cancer caregivers.
- LUNGevity's Lung Cancer Support Community Caregivers Group: Our online message board has a group just for caregivers. This group is focused on lung cancer patient caregivers and allows users to share stories, ask questions, and connect with other caregivers who understand the unique role of lung cancer caregivers.
- LUNGevity LifeLine Program: Through the LifeLine program, volunteers mentor and offer encouragement, advice, experience, and hope to caregivers, those newly diagnosed, and anyone needing additional support, through a one-on-one personal connection by email or telephone.
- Lung Cancer Alliance: This organization provides a listing of support groups across the country for patients, caregivers, and other family members. There is also a help line to locate local support groups.