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It sounds so simple

Caregivers communicate across many channels from the patient to the doctors to insurance companies and so on. Communicating across all these channels requires constant changes in demeanor, tone, use of jargon, etc. all of which stresses the mind. Here are some key elements to consider in your caregiver communications plan. 

Just ask! Instead of assuming, ask your loved one what might be most helpful to them in this moment and check in periodically to see if their needs have changed. It’s normal if your loved one wants something different than what you would want if you were in their shoes.
Appointments. If you’re unable to attend all appointments, ask your loved one and the medical team for appointments that might be worth rearranging other priorities, or ask about virtual appointments.
Respect privacy. Discuss with your loved one how much or how little they want to share about their cancer diagnosis and with whom so that you can respect their wishes.
Accept help. Caregiving is often like a marathon instead of a sprint. So when someone offers water, take it. Have a few items in mind when the inevitable question, “What can I do to help?” comes your way. Having ongoing needs in your mind will allow you to give ideas about how others can help.
Maintain communication. This seems like a simple concept, but it is not. Open communication combines honesty, directness, vulnerability and a higher level of awareness of both the self and others.
Boundaries. Caregivers are allowed to have them. Take time to develop and understand your own boundaries so you can communicate them clearly with your loved one, the medical team, and your own support system.
Advice. Be clear with your support system about when you want advice and when you just want to vent. Both are necessary on the caregiver journey and the last thing you need is someone trying to solve a problem when you just need to vent and release.
Ask for help. It’s not easy to ask for help. However, we know that many people want to help families affected by cancer. Practice asking for help and taking it when offered.
Fears. It’s common to think that talking about your fears and worries will burden your loved one, but many caregivers have found that sharing their difficult emotions actually relieves the anxiety. In most cases, your loved one is worrying about the same things. Allowing the scary thoughts and feelings to come out into the open actually helps to put them into perspective.
Listen. Decide that you won’t be able to fix all of the problems that your loved one is facing. Most of the time, listening to their worries and frustrations without feeling like you always need to do something about them can be very comforting for both you and your loved one.

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