For Pancreatic Cancer Caregivers

What should I know and how can I help?

As a caregiver of a person with pancreatic cancer, you have a very important role. But you may be unsure of what you need to know, or what common duties and responsibilities come with being a caregiver. The good news is, there are a number of resources to help you as you begin to understand what it means to be a caregiver for someone living with pancreatic cancer.

Caring for someone with pancreatic cancer

Your main role as a caregiver is to provide help and support. This can come in many forms. Here are a few ways you may be able to help.

    • Pick up and help give any medications
    • Watch for symptoms or any change in how the person is feeling or acting
    • Help with basic personal care such as bathing, dressing, and eating
    • Assist the person with getting up, sitting down, or walking if he or she has a hard time moving
    • Schedule doctor’s appointments
    • Plan travel to and from the hospital, and provide transportation
    • Keep track of medical records, and organize paperwork
    • Take care of finances and insurance, and pay bills
    • Discuss treatment options or other items with the doctor or medical staff (be an advocate for his or her health)
    • Provide meals, and/or organize food delivery
    • Talk and listen
    • Read aloud
    • Play music
    • Sit and provide companionship
    • Keep the person as comfortable as possible
    • Ask about preferences for food, activities, and visitors
    • Help find a support network of other patients who are coping with a similar diagnosis

Caring for yourself

An important part of being a caregiver is to understand your limits and to take care of yourself along the way. Here are some ways to do this while also providing care for someone else.

    • Ask friends, family members, and neighbors for help when you need it
    • When people ask if you need help, think about a specific task they could do that would be helpful for you
    • Enlist others to help you with errands, household chores, meals, grocery shopping, and picking up prescriptions
    • Reach out for expert help from health services, psychologists, counselors, or other specialists if needed
    • Get enough sleep
    • Eat a nutritious diet
    • Stay active (for example, take a walk, do yoga, or go to the gym)
    • Talk to your employer about taking vacation or sick leave, as well as making schedule changes, accommodating flexible hours, or working from home
    • Ask about any federal or state laws that offer time off to take care of an immediate family member
    • Read a book
    • Listen to music
    • Watch a movie
    • Write in your journal
    • Relax with a cup of coffee or tea
    • Call friends or spend time with them outside of your home
    • Attend an in-person caregiver support group (see the groups on the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network website)
    • Speak with another caregiver who has been in a similar situation as yours (get matched up by the Survivor and Caregiver Network, a service provided by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network)
    • Find an online group that allows you to share stories and receive support from other caregivers (check out CancerCare)