Ten tips for family caregivers
If someone you love has mesothelioma, you may already be involved as a caregiver. The work is essential; it can also be demanding, hard on the body and hard on the spirit. One of the greatest stressors for family caregivers is a sense of isolation, the feeling that they're out there alone, and that people around them, including the patient, don't understand what they're dealing with. In fact, as a family caregiver you're part of a very large community: about 50 million Americans provide care for a member of their family.
Here we offer some guidance from the experts: other caregivers. It also provides connections to resources on the web, and ways to connect personally with other caregivers in your own community.
One of the best resources is the Family Caregivers Association, a national organization that aims to educate, support, and advocate for those 50 million family caregivers. Their Ten Tips for Family Caregivers packs a powerful load of wisdom into a single page. We've reprinted it here, and you can also find it on their website, http://www.thefamilycaregiver.org
- Caregiving is a job and respite is your earned right. Reward yourself with respite breaks often.
- Watch out for signs of depression, and don't delay in getting professional help when you need it.
- When people offer to help, accept the offer and suggest specific things that they can do.
- Educate yourself about your loved one's condition and how to communicate effectively with doctors.
- Trust your instincts. Most of the time they'll lead you in the right direction.
- There's a difference between caring and doing. Be open to technologies and ideas that promote your loved one's independence.
- Caregivers often do a lot of lifting, pushing, and pulling. Be good to your back.
- Grieve for your losses, and then allow yourself to dream new dreams.
- Seek support from other caregivers. There is great strength in knowing you are not alone.
- Stand up for your rights as a caregiver and a citizen.