Care for Caregivers:
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” -Leo Buscalia.
Cancer caregivers have much to do. Their responsibility gets doubled coping with their loved one’s deteriorating health. As their friend or family member’s disease progresses, the workload also increases accordingly. The increasing list of duties can be much stressful and overwhelming.
The caregiver’s duties can be wide-ranging. At one moment a caregiver may be shopping for meals, the next they could be discussing about the medicinal dosage with the pharmacist, or arranging a transportation to book for a specialist appointment. The caregiver is responsible to ensure the continuity of care to the loved one, given any situation.
Caregivers could be the parents, spouse, son, grandchild, neighbor or a hired help. This job is definitely challenging and can change daily as the needs of the patient keep changing too. A caregiver needs to follow special instructions such as wearing one’s own oxygen mask first before assisting others.” As the saying goes rightly that you must take care of yourself first in order to be an effective caregiver.
It is well understood that caregivers are probably very tired. This could be because you were so much occupied and concerned about your loved one’s health, taking care and couldn’t pay much attention to your own health. However, it is very important that you take care of your health, too. Added stress and daily demands can cause new health problems for caregivers. Therefore it is important for the caregivers to take care of their health, taking medication if you are on any of them accordingly, and also seek the doctor’s advice for extra fills in order to save trips. Find out if your grocery store or pharmacy delivers the medicines.
– Try to eat healthy meals. Eating well will help keep up your strength.
– Get enough rest. Short naps can energize you if you aren’t getting enough sleep.
– Listen to soft music or doing breathing exercises that may help you fall asleep.
– Exercise, walk, swim, run, or go for biking to keep your body moving.
Focus on ways that help you maintain a healthy lifestyle while caregiving. Go for any kind of exercise that helps you to keep your body healthy. An exercise of at least 15-30 minutes a day will make you feel better and help manage your stress. Create time for yourself to relax. Choose to stretch, read, watch television, or talk to someone on the phone. Identify ways to reduce stress. Whatever helps you unwind, you should take time to do it. It’s important to tend to your needs and reduce your own stress levels.
Set realistic and attainable goals for yourself and your loved ones. Identify smaller steps to reach towards your goals. Build your support team. Seek for support from family, friends, doctors, spiritual organizations, and also others to help with regards to the caregiving tasks. For some, exercise, yoga, meditation, mindfulness or journaling can be helpful. Just experiment the same to find out what works for you.
Look for a social worker, a therapist or a mental health professional to address depression, anxiety and stress if any. Participate in programs that are designed specifically to support caregivers caring for loved ones of cancer. Take timely breaks from the responsibilities of caregiving; even a short break turns out to be helpful. Respite care can be provided by family, friends, and volunteers.
Talk to family, friends and others for support related to your experiences of caregiving. Always keep in mind to support your own emotional situations towards the cancer journey. Join a support group to exchange ideas with others in similar circumstances and find options to solve challenging situations. If employed, consider the impact of caregiving responsibilities on your job.
To be a caregiver is to have a platform that is both rewarding and challenging. Caring for a loved one diagnosed with Cancer can bring people and families closer together, increase the adaptability and coping skills, and also offer the opportunity to give back to someone special.
Effective caregivers are those people who are not only wise and are highly careful about the disease and its symptoms, alongside, they also strive towards taking care of themselves and accepting help from all the available resources in order to ensure their own well-being during their caregiving.