Caregiving and Cancer: Practical Planning and Daily Considerations

By Pamela D. Wilson, CSA, MS, BS/BA, CG

Caregiving is more often than not an unexpected event. Many caregivers have a daily routine caring for a loved one. Some caregivers continue working; some stay at home to caregive. Most important is the caregiver’s ability for self-care including attending to healthcare and medical needs. Care-receiving is also an unexpected and unwelcome event; who wants to admit that he or she needs care?

Caregiving for a loved one is stressful and the physical and emotional effects longstanding. Caregivers experience anxiety, depression, declines in health, and a number of other conditions as the result of the role of caregiving. If you find the effects of caregiving difficult to believe the example I share is Christopher Reeve and his wife Dana. Christopher was injured in a horseback riding accident and was cared for by his devoted wife and family for many years. After Christopher passed in October 2004, his wife, Dana, was diagnosed with lung cancer the following August—never having smoked a cigarette. Dana passed away in March of 2006.

What happens to caregivers who already have chronic diseases including a prior diagnosis of cancer? Should individuals already diagnosed with a chronic disease be more cautious about their health when caring for another person?

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Pamela D. Wilson, MS, BS/BA, CG, CSA, Certified Senior Advisor specializes in working with family and professional caregivers to navigate healthcare and aging concerns. Wilson, an expert in the field of caregiving, has personally helped thousands of family and professional caregivers since 2000 in her career as an advocate, a care navigator, and an educator. Through her company, The Care Navigator, she is an advocate and service provider in the roles of guardian, power of attorney, care manager, and transition specialist. She was producer and host of The Caring Generation®, from 2009 to 2011, an educational radio program for caregivers on 630 KHOW-AM.  In addition to her work at the Care Navigator, Pamela gives back to the community by serving as chairperson of the Community Ethics Committee in Denver, Colorado.

Her new book, The Caregiving Trap: Solutions for Life’s Unexpected Changes, will be available on October 6, 2015 through all major bookstores as well as on You can find her on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In.

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