Managing cancer as a patient is tasking, but very few people talk about the burden that is transferred to the caregiver. Cancer caregivers often are family members who never signed up to be mentally and physically drained. A cancer caregiver is a person who provides a cancer patient with emotional and physical care as well as support.
Being a cancer patient’s caregiver can be tasking, especially when the person involved is a loved one. There is a tendency to feel helpless and despair during the process as the sickness usually takes a toll on the directly affected patient and their family. It may get more difficult as time progresses.
However, some simple tips at home can help ease the patient’s pain and make the caregiving process slightly easier.
Here are some tips to help you as a cancer caregiver
Educating yourself on the kind of cancer your loved one suffers from will help you with the knowledge to provide better care. Find out as much information about the disease, homecare, recent research, and recommended treatment plans.
Apply warm washcloth
In periods of pain, you can apply a warm washcloth to the affected areas or give the patient a warm bath to ease the pain.
Engage the patient with activities
Distract the patient with activities they enjoy when they are comfortable. Keep the patient company and always offer words of encouragement. It would help to initiate conversations that have nothing to do with cancer.
Keep track of treatment
Always keep track of the patient’s treatment plan to ensure that they take all the prescribed medication, including the recommended laxatives, to avoid constipation. Also, give the patient lots of fluids and fibre-rich foods.
Ensure you can contact the doctor and the hospital at all times in an emergency.
Coping as a Cancer Caregiver
Caring for a cancer patient can be demanding and it is crucial for you as the caregiver to maintain your health and avoid falling sick or depression.
Make sure to take a break when you can, preferably when the patient needs some space. You can take a walk, read a book or watch a movie.
Accept help when you need it. Recognize that you may not be able to do everything and may need to share some of the responsibility sometimes. There are cancer caregiver support groups you can reach out to for some support and encouragement.
To perform your duties as a caregiver to the best of your ability, you need to be in a good health and mental state. So, you must take care of yourself as you take care of your sick loved one.