Being a caregiver is a multifaceted role that is physically and psychologically draining. We share tips on  how to achieve a balance between the needs of the caregiver and that of the patient.

A caregiver shoulders a great and often overwhelming responsibility to the patient and the next-of-kin of the patient. A caregiver who is a family member could experience even greater socio-economic pressures.

This could be more severe in situations where the cancer patient has been a sole breadwinner and has dependants who are not financially independent .

The pressures of caregiving could aggravate into insecurity and anxiety bringing with them physical issues such as chest pains. When the caregiver takes ill, it goes without saying that the pressures multiply.

What are some strategies that caregivers can adopt to balance the role of care giving without neglecting their personal needs?

  • To deliver healthy care the caregiver needs to be healthy- The caregiver (and if allowed the patient) can be involved in collective exercise sessions. This can include a simple low impact exercise routine or an activity like yoga. More importantly, regular exercise and a collective environment is the key to positive living and allows for interactions. As a caregiver, a social setting allows for the sharing of emotions and the exchange of ideas and even a source of support.

  • Take time off – Caregiving is described as a round the clock responsibility. However, caregivers should take a few hours for themselves to engage in a hobby. A hobby not just provides for some personal time, an activity like colouring keeps the brain active and alert. For those with green fingers, horticulture therapy will allow you to enjoy home grown foods while giving you something to look forward to everyday.
  • Plan in advance – Victims of most chronic conditions are often caught off guard. It is a major contingency that takes time to accept. Yet, it calls for some important decisions to be made. It is hence recommended to engage in financial and legal planning much earlier in life.Here are a few key aspects that should be considered upon diagnosis of a terminal illness such as cancer.
    • Insurance: Contact your insurer to understand the areas and amount of cover you will get from your insurance policy. In a situation where a critical illness includes a loss of income, an insurance policy could prove a boon that may not require you to exhaust your savings.
    • Durable Power of Attorney: As in the case of most terminal illnesses, one major concern of the patient could be the well being of dependants after his or her demise; this in particular when the dependants are minors or individuals who are not financially independent.A Durable Power of Attorney would allow the cancer patient to empower and entrust hard earned assets to a trusted individual. A Durable Power of Attorney is legal after demise of its guarantor and it also allows the holder of the Power of Attorney to execute any action deemed fit on the issues within the jurisdiction and the legal document.

Cancer patients may not just need the physical support in achieving their daily needs but also psychological support to overcome the discomforts caused as a result of the treatments for the disease. Planning can be challenging during a contingency. A decision seems almost impossible. It is recommended to develop a strong support system and be well prepared in advance to ease the demands on the patient and caregiver during tough times.



The articles published on are intended to provide tips for health and lifestyle for individuals aged 40 years and above. The articles are based on secondary research and do not represent the opinion of the author, Spring Publishing Pte Ltd or any mentioned third party. Spring Publishing Pte Ltd recommends professional consultation in medical treatments and will hold no responsibility for medical causes or consequences of the information contained in articles.