Caregivers are key people for anyone undergoing treatment for a serious illness like mesothelioma. Caregivers are those family members, partners, and friends who provide support, as well as emotional and practical help, to the person who is being treated for cancer.
Those who have done this know that it is an essential role that makes a significant difference in the person’s quality of life and outlook. For anyone who is providing caregiving for the first time, there are some key aspects to keep in mind.
The caregiver or caregivers’ role may vary, depending on the other support systems available to the person, and the physical needs of the patient. However, caregivers in general provide support to the person with the goal of easing some of the burdens, so that the patient can focus on their health needs.
Some caregivers assist with practical matters, such as managing finances, legal and insurance issues, and coordinating medical appointments. A caregiver may be the person who joins the patient at doctor’s appointments, asking questions to familiarize themselves with the treatment options, and helping the patient in making informed decisions. A caregiver also provides emotional support, and helps the patient keep hope and strength as they undergo a serious life changing experience.
When a person takes on the role of a caregiver, they should be sensitive to the fact that they, too, will need support and self-care. Caring for a person with cancer or other serious illness is an emotional role, and the person providing care needs to recognize their own boundaries and capabilities.
It can be easy to become immersed in caring for a loved one and devoting large amounts of time and energy to their needs. But as cancer support groups know from experience, support for the caregiver as well is part of successfully balancing both person’s needs.
Fortunately, there are numerous support groups and resources for both cancer patients and caregivers. Many nonprofit cancer research organizations, hospitals, cancer medical providers, and others, offer a variety of resources such as in-person and online support discussion groups. They have found that for the caregiver, there are general tips to help manage the role.
Getting care for one’s self and making time away from the caregiver role is important. Staying healthy by sticking with a routine of diet and exercise and taking breaks helps maintain normality.
The caregiver must also be ready to recognize that they alone cannot solve or manage everything for the patient. The patient ultimately is the one who is in -control, and it is psychologically healthy to allow them to make their own decisions – with support and input as they wish.
The caregiver will have understandable emotional ups and downs with their friend’s or loved one’s terminal cancer, and thus another good practice is to talk with others, whether professionally or otherwise. We often like to believe we can manage life stresses alone. But in reality, research has shown that support from others works.
Providing love and being present for someone undergoing illness can take a toll, so the best advice is to seek encouragement for yourself as a caregiver throughout the process as well.
The Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler provide experienced and supportive legal representation for those who have become ill from exposure to asbestos. We know what it takes to get the compensation victims need. We serve clients across Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, Delaware County, Chester County, Philadelphia County, and New Jersey. Contact us to evaluate your case by calling 265-569-4000 or by completing our online form.