Being a mesothelioma caregiver can be one of the greatest gifts you can give to someone you love – even though it is a gift you wish you never had to give.
At Mesothelioma Circle, we are here for you. We will continue to work to provide you with information to help you through this difficult time.
There are no rules about who can become a mesothelioma caregiver or what a mesothelioma caregiver is expected to do. That can make being a mesothelioma caregiver confusing, exhausting and frightening.
Here adapted for mesothelioma caregivers are some basic pointers about being a home caregiver from The Comfort of Home, a caregivers ‘resource guide.
A mesothelioma caregiver should be:
- Emotionally and physically able to handle taking care of someone with mesothelioma
- In good health, with energy, experience and flexibility
- Accepting of sharing some duties and responsibilities with other family members
- Able to plan solutions and solve problems instead of withdrawing under stress
- Able to communicate in a straightforward way
- Accustomed to giving and receiving help
- Willing to handle unpleasant tasks like bathing or cleaning bed sores
- Able to cope with anger and frustration
- Able to afford respite (back-up) care
- Able to communicate well with the mesothelioma patient
- Able to make the mesothelioma patient feel useful and needed
- Appreciated by other family members
- Able to respect and work with the future needs and preferences of the mesothelioma patient
The potential pitfalls of becoming a mesothelioma caregiver:
- You will lack freedom
- Your duties could have a negative effect on your job, career, hobbies and personal life
- There may be less time for church services and volunteer work
- Friends and family may be critical and offer unwelcome advice
- You may be awakened during the night
- You may feel unable to control life’s events and may suffer from depression, worry, anger, regrets, guilt and stress.
- Instead of being grateful, the person in your care may react to constant daily irritations by lashing out at you.
- You may begin to fear the time when you may be dependent on someone else for care
- You may become physically ill or emotionally drained.
The benefits of becoming a mesothelioma caregiver:
- If the mesothelioma patient is your spouse, the experience can strengthen the marriage
- Your relationships with other family members also may grow stronger
- Cost savings may be significant
- In spite of all the challenges, you may feel an emotional boost from doing what you feel is the right thing by being a mesothelioma caregiver for your loved one
- You will look back for the rest of your life on this special time with your mesothelioma patient with a sense of pride in your strength and love at this crucial time.