How to be an effective caregiver

You’re going through this together. Here’s how to say, “I’ve got you.”

We know this isn’t easy. And you have your own worries and fears. But caregivers play an important role in the emotional and physical well-being of a person living with MBC. Not only are you emphatically there for them, helping with everyday activities and appointments, but you’re there for them by sharing thoughtful support, kind words, a comforting hug.

The ways caregivers share support:
  • Emotional: giving support and encouragement
  • Physical: giving medication, helping manage symptoms and side effects
  • Communication: talking to the healthcare team, friends and family members—and the person living with MBC
  • Everyday help: scheduling appointments, giving rides, helping with meals and chores, taking care of pets, helping with bills and insurance

Sometimes a hug, you know, goes a long way for me now more so than a hug did 10 years ago.”

— Stephanie
Angie's Story
Watch her story
There’s a lot to think about when caregiving. The 3 P’s can help you take on the challenges:
  • Be proactive: taking charge of things can help prevent last-minute emergencies and help you feel more in control
  • Be a problem solver: identify problems and be creative in how to solve them. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from others
  • Find positivity: Think about things that bring you joy or gratitude. You may not have control of the situation, but try to find and share things that give you hope.

Finding the right words

Oh, you look good. That's one that everybody says. They don't mean any harm. I really, I do know that. But, um, that's one I don't care for very much.”

— Stephanie

  • DO say

    “If you ever need someone to talk to, I’m here.”

    “I care about you.”

    “I’m sorry this happened to you.”

  • DON’T say

    “Don’t worry.”

    “I’m sure you’ll be fine.”

    “I know exactly how you feel.”

If you feel like you’re not sure what to say, simply tell them that. It’s okay. Your honesty can be refreshing. Conveying that you’re thinking of them is the most important message you can send.

Just remember, the little things matter. 5 easy ways to show you care:

  • Make plans and be flexible about changing them
  • Laugh and cry together
  • Show you’re listening: read their social posts, blog, or simply send a text to check-in
  • Offer to help and do it
  • Don’t let MBC take over: treat them the same and find other things to talk about

You don't have to do this alone

Connect with support, your way, with the Facing MBC Together app.

Learn more
Create your very own personalized support team

I definitely recommend to everyone with MBC to ask for support from their family—and tell them specifically what you want them to do, even if it means just listening. Sometimes, that’s all you need.”

— Kirby

How to find help, a little or a lot

People may ask you how they can help. The Facing MBC Together app is an easy way to create a personalized support network for your loved one with MBC. It lets you easily communicate, coordinate, and connect with other people to find help with everyday activities like:

  • Shopping for groceries and picking up prescriptions
  • Helping around the house
  • Cooking a meal and dropping it off
  • Taking care of kids or pets
  • Offering rides to appointments or treatment

It’s also easy for people to simply show their support. Communicate with everyone, all in one place, and share photos, messages, and updates, even group video chat. You can also organize donations or gifts via Amazon Wish List.

Looking for more caregiver resources?

Find information, tips, and more in this guide from ASCO Cancer.Net.

Download the guide »

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