HOA offers first-ever CNY Caregiver Support Group

Caring for a loved one with cancer presents unique challenges. Knowing how to manage the practical concerns of a loved one’s diagnosis and treatment, supporting their decisions regarding their care and being there to provide emotional support are all challenging demands of a caregiver, while trying to “keep things normal.”

“It’s a difficult role, especially for family members,” says Pamela Coffey, LSCW-R, director of social work services for Hematology-Oncology Associates of CNY (HOA). “We are pleased to begin offering this first-ever, in-person, six-week Caregiver Support Group to support the unmet needs of individuals faced with caring for a loved one with cancer.

Open to any cancer-patient caregiver, the group will meet the second and fourth Tuesday of each month from September 13 through Tuesday November 22. Meetings run from 4:00-5:30 p.m. in the HOA Board Room, on the third floor of the HOA office at 5008 Brittonfield Parkway, East Syracuse, 13057. Pre-registration is required by phone: 315-472-7504, extension1068 or email at: pcoffey@hoacny.com. The group will be facilitated by Pamela Coffey. Masks are required.

According to the Association of Oncology Social Workers, more than 44 million people find themselves as primary caregivers for chronically ill or disabled family members. Families provide more than 80 percent of home-care services, with one in every four people serving as a caregiver. Of those caregivers, 50 percent will have symptoms of depression as well as other conditions such as anxiety and sleep disturbances.

“Through ongoing support with peers we hope to alleviate caregiver stress and feelings of helplessness,” adds Coffey. “We plan to provide a group environment where caregivers feel comfortable expressing themselves without judgment and learn ways to cope with their own emotional and physical stress, as well as build a community of support.”