When my dad was diagnosed with Lung Cancer, life changed for everyone. As soon as it starts, things get really crazy. Caregiver management (managing caregiving and your life too) is incredibly overwhelming.
Battling cancer is BUSY, and it never stops. And while you’re running all over the place, you’re also dragging around a ton of extra stress and anxiety that undoubtedly comes with this whole situation.
Just so you know… If you’re drowning in the overwhelm of a cancer diagnosis, we can help you SIMPLIFY the complex issues that come with cancer. Finding the best care, talking with your insurance company, finding resources that will actually help, and dealing with the fear, anxiety, and overwhelm of this whole situation.
Cancer is draining. So, having some good systems for caregiver management in place right from the start will make things a lot easier. Just keep in mind, you don’t need complicated, you need easy.
Best Tips for Caregiver Mangement
Organize Your Medical Information
When cancer is involved there is literally a TON of information flying at you from every direction. Important communication, directions and emergency information that you’ll need to access quickly. This is life-altering stuff, so you need the correct information and you need it fast.
Within the first few weeks of my dad’s diagnosis, we had STACKS of paperwork to go through any time we were looking for anything related to cancer. And literally everyone was asking us the same questions, over and over.
So, we took those repeated questions and established a quick and easy system to organize medical information…
• NO more scrambling around looking through stacks of papers.
• Forget spending hours trying to find that one date.
• NO more lost instructions that you desperately need right now.
The Cancer Binder Pack can help you get organized in less than an hour and stay that way in a matter of minutes. As we were learning how to deal with bad news, we were also learning how to get our sh@t together!
This easy to follow system will save you hours of scrambling around searching for paperwork. We can walk you through the whole system step-by-step so you can do it yourself.
This way, you can avoid the anxiety that comes from not being able to find what you’re looking for and save that stress for something much more important.
Figure Out Where You Need to Be
As you have probably already figured out, your life is about to get really hectic. When things get started, it feels like you are running around in 10 different directions with a never ending to do list.
There is NO WAY you can keep all of this straight in your head. You need a caregiver management planning system, asap. It NEEDS to be simple. A place to write down, where you need to be and keep track of anything major you need to deal with.
If you don’t already have a planner, you can grab our free weekly planning page here…
It’s a quick and easy way to look at the entire week in one shot and still be able to plan ahead for anything upcoming. But, you don’t need a $50 planner, with12 lines to map out each day.
You need a quick and easy snapshot of your entire week, so you know where you need to be and what I needed to do. Because that was the only way, I didn’t have to worry about forgetting anything…
Online Grocery Shopping
Caregiver management is about making life easier.
You are going to appreciate time much differently now, mainly because you won’t have as much of it as you used too. 🙁
That being said, anything that you can cut out of your schedule, is a win. I live on top of a mountain and so all of the options available in the City aren’t available to me. Amazon is about the only place that will travel here (they go anywhere!)
But, I can order ahead and pick up my groceries, so this chore takes me a fraction of the time that it did before. What I found was, not only did I cut down on the amount of time I spent, I also saved a TON of money. Like hundreds of dollars a week, no joke.
Why? Because I only ordered what I needed, rather than randomly walking through the store tossing things into the cart that the kids or my husband MIGHT like. This one little change saved both time and money (which I desperately needed).
And because I know HOW MUCH I LOOK forward to grocery shopping (getting out of the house is like a vacation!) Even if I could do delivery, I would still choose grocery pick-up. I get out of the house, drive to the store, grab a coffee and take a walk, and then I grab my groceries.
I get the same break, without the actual shopping. Bonus: someone else can grab them for me if things get crazy. Which they do sometimes.
Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time
Before you do your online shopping, throw together a quick meal plan for the week and add it to your planner. Stick with quick and easy 15-minute meals so you don’t have to spend hours cooking (you can find boatloads of them here…)
- Spaghetti and meat sauce.
- Crockpot chicken and rice.
- Hot dogs and mac and cheese.
- Taco’s or Quesadillas
- Grilled Cheese or BLT’s
- Breakfast for Dinner
Offer fresh salad with every meal and your veggies are covered. Viola! Dinner is served.
Use any tools you might have to expedite things and make clean up super quick and easy!
Instantpot: (can cook frozen meat in about a half an hour saving you a ton of time and energy.)
Or, maybe you can take a few hours over the weekend to create Freezer Meals or Dump Dinners.
My FreezeEasy: Create several meals in batches that stay in the freezer until you are ready for them. This is a quick and easy way to have dinner ready in minutes!
Electric Griddle: Makes cooking things like burgers, eggs, bacon quick and easy for multiple people. Cooking 2 burgers a piece for 4 people, means two to 3 pans on a stove top. The griddle can cook everything in one shot!
Always Have a Bag Packed
This is one of the best pieces of advice I can offer you! Because it came in handy countless times throughout our journey.
Cancer comes with a lot of emergency situations and there will be times where you have to drop and run within minutes. I may need to sleep at my parent’s house, spend the night in the E.R. or sleep in the hospital if we’re admitted.
And there’s not a whole lot of warning before I have to leave, or much time to put things together.
So, for that reason I ALWAYS have a book bag packed and ready to go with…
- Change of clothes
- 3 t-shirts
- Extra socks and underwear
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Travel size shampoo and body wash
- Cleansing facial wipes
- Dry shampoo (just in case)
- Advil (or a few days of any prescribed medication)
- Extra phone charger (that just stays in the bag)
- Deck of playing cards
- Cash (like $30 in case I can’t use my card)
- Notebook and a pen
Everything you need to get through a few days is in that bag and you are ready to move at a moment’s notice.
You can just grab the bag and go.
Make A List Of Your Bills
Things like this are easy to miss when your world erupts into constant running, worry and anxiety. I remember my surprise when the electric company called me during our battle to tell me I never paid the electric bill.
Didn’t I just pay that? How could it be due already? And can you imagine going through this with no lights and no heat? Cancer makes everything busier.
This is why caregiver management is so important.
There is always something happening and things you are normally on top of just aren’t the priority anymore. You have enough stuff on your plate right now.
Just make a list of your bills on a piece of paper and check them off once they are paid. This way you’ll always have a quick way to know what’s outstanding so nothing essential gets missed.
Don’t Over Commit
Things are different now, and if they’re not they will be. You’ll need tips and hacks to manage your life, your schedule, your time and your responsibilities… everything that falls into caregiver management.
Things are about to change drastically for you and your loved one.
Stress, anxiety, depression, treatment, symptoms and doctors’ appointments are going to start dominating your day-to-day activities.
So, things you’ve been doing your whole life…
Like jumping in the car and driving 8 hours to visit your sister, enjoying 3-4 days and then driving home, is now going to be much different and at some point will be way too much. In fact, sometimes driving to work and making it through the day is too much.
And trying to continue on as if nothing is different is a huge mistake.
Here’s the deal… This journey could last years. This isn’t going to be a short sprint and then life as you knew it will resume. And honestly you are going to be praying with all your might that the journey continues for a long time.
Long term requires strength and stamina…
And you’ll have neither if you burn yourself out in the first quarter.
One of the things you’ll notice really fast is how much all of this stuff really drains you. The stress, the anxiety, the constant trips back and forth to the doctors deplete your energy, but they’re also not the only things you have going on.
Caregiver management is a marathon, not a sprint.
You probably have work, families to spend time with (and they most likely want to be fed once in a while), houses to care for and a thousand other things that also need your attention. You can’t do it all today.
Do what you can, plan ahead and delegate whatever is left. And don’t feel guilty about it. Next year, you can have the cleanest house on the block…
Today, let’s just get through the day.
Leave Enough Time
At some point in your journey, you’ll probably need extra time. Everything is different! You can’t expect to jump out of bed and leave 10 minutes later anymore. You certainly shouldn’t expect your loved one to do that.
We used to hit the road within 15 minutes, then at some point in the process we started needing an hour or more to get on the road. We couldn’t rush anymore. It just took more time. You’re going to have to factor that in when you’re figuring out your day.
A cancer battle can get really insane, really quickly. But with a little pre planning for caregiver management and a few quick tips, things are a whole lot easier.
How do you practice caregiver management? Let us know in the comments!
P.S. If you have no idea how to deal with a cancer diagnosis, we can help you formulate a plan to SIMPLIFY the complex “stuff” that comes with this disease… Finding the best care, talking with your insurance company, finding resources that will actually help, and dealing with the fear, anxiety and overwhelm of this whole situation.
We can’t control the cancer, but we CAN show you how to manage this crisis. And it’s 100% Free.
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