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Caregivers need care, too

The post-holiday period can be stressful and depressing for everyone, but especially for those caring for someone with a chronic illness.

The post-holiday period can be stressful and depressing for everyone, but especially for those caring for someone with a chronic illness.

One thing you shouldn’t do is put pressure on the caregiver, Weeks said, as it just adds to their load.

“The phrases ‘Call me if you need anything’ or ‘Call me back’ can be stressful,” she said. “Better: ‘You don't have to call me back. I just wanted you to know we are thinking of you.’ Listening is one of the greatest gifts.”

Weeks has been on both sides of this equation, having cared for her daughter, Heather, while she battled colon cancer. The foundation was started in her name after she passed away in 2006 to carry on her goals; Heather was employed by the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund before her death.

“When our daughter was seriously ill with cancer, we were so touched by those who reached out to help us with meals, cards, a night out or just that call to tell us they were there for us,” Weeks said. “Just showing up and being a good friend is key. Remember — if you are afraid to talk to your friend who's caregiving for a terminal patient, imagine what they are feeling.”

To find a support group to fit your needs, visit caregiver.com/regionalresources/states/NY/support/onandaga.htm or call the Onondaga County Department of Aging and Youth at 435-2362.

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