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May 14, 2022
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Top Tips for Being a Successful Caregiver to A Cancer Patient
Therefore, it is important that you take good care of yourself and manage your stress. Here are a few practical tips to help you as you take care of your loved ones.
1. It is a team effort: You will do many things at once and this can impact your health and wellbeing too. It will not be wrong to say that because of such demands, many caregivers do not get proper rest and lead a poor quality of life. At any point in time, if you feel overwhelmed, reach out for help! We know it is not easy and having emotional support from family members, friends, or even a support group can make a significant difference. You can also consider arranging for respite care or a temporary caregiver when you need some break.
2. Create a list of tasks: This may sound trivial, but it can make a significant difference. Make a list of all the tasks that you need to do as a caregiver and arrange them according to the importance, most important being on the top. You can also use this list to divide responsibilities with friends, family members, and professional or volunteer services.
3. Consider professional and volunteer services: These services can give you a much-needed break. You can contact the right services provider for professional home care, home-delivered meals, and even to help with day-to-day activities. Some services or agencies can also help you with transportation or for the advocates of health insurance and other associated benefits. Having strong support or a helping hand can give you moments of relief and comfort to know that you are not alone in this journey.
4. Communicate: Cancer patients often feel stressed and overwhelmed during their diagnosis and treatment. This can also cause them to lose concentration and forget things. Notably, anger, depression, anxiety can make it difficult for them to carry out even their daily chores. The key here is to communicate with them and acknowledge their feelings. Be sensitive and encourage them to talk to you, their friends, or a support group.
5. Identify your strengths and weaknesses: Know more about yourself as a caregiver. This will help you to set boundaries for yourself, seek help when needed, and avoid burnout or stress. Knowing your limits will not only help you but also the person you are caring for, giving them a chance to be more independent when you need a break.
6. Be proactive and positive: Try to avoid last-minute emergencies and take charge of your task list or plan. This will not only give you a sense of control but also help others maintain schedules who are helping you to take care of your loved one. Most importantly, do all of this with a positive attitude because you help set the tone of the journey. You may not control what may happen, but you can control the way you react. Encourage your loved ones to talk not just about cancer but the things you both love and enjoy.
7. Participate in medical and physical care: Help your loved ones and assure them of your presence. For instance,
● During a visit to the doctor, list the things you or your loved one wants to share or discuss any symptoms or side effects, list the medicines they are taking, note what the doctor advises, and plan on what to do next.
● Maintain good hygiene and cleanliness to avoid infections during the treatment. Wash your hands, take your flu shot and encourage the patient to do the same. If you observe any damage or bruise on their skin, help them clean it.
● Help them make healthy choices such as being physically active, following healthy eating habits, avoiding exposure to tobacco and sun, and limiting consumption of alcohol.
8. Understand and manage your finances: Cancer treatments are expensive and can make a dent in your finances even after having health insurance. So, it is advisable to understand and manage your expenses by considering the following:
● Know what the treatment will cost and get as much detailed information as possible.
● Establish what your health insurance covers and ask whether there are any specific benefits.
● Consider a payment plan so you can arrange and afford timely payments.
● Ask the service provider if you are not clear about any of the bills.
● Save money on medicines by talking to the doctor (if generic medicines are available) or checking with the health insurance provider.
Sometimes, it is difficult to plan for taking care of a loved one when suddenly they are diagnosed with a serious condition like cancer. Whilst handling this responsibility, you not only have to take care of your family members but also make decisions about medical care. There will be times when you will feel overwhelmed, but this is normal. Therefore, while caring for your loved ones, do not ignore your mental and physical health. If you need any help coping with volatile situations, reach out to your friends, family, support groups, or professional services. You should know that help is available to help you and your loved ones navigate through the battle of cancer.
- The critical role of caregivers in the treatment of a cancer patient cannot be overstated. Primary (spouse, parent, partner, or adult child) or secondary caregivers (close friends, coworkers, or neighbors) need to provide reliable and continued support to ensure the physical and emotional well-being of the cancer patient.
- Since most of the cancer treatments nowadays are offered in outpatient centers and not in hospitals, a person is needed at home for the day-to-day care of the patients and associated tasks. Hence, a caregiver plays multiple roles including that of a companion, housekeeper, manager of finances and legal affairs, and many more whilst fulfilling the needs of other family members.
Cancer Care That Benefits the Patient