Obviously, being diagnosed with mesothelioma is very hard on the patient. A cancer diagnosis is quite traumatic. However, the effects for the caregiver are often overlooked. The primary caregiver may be responsible for: arranging all medical care, physically caring for the patient at home, contacting lawyers, and taking care of financial matters, as well as any of the many mundane tasks the patient is no longer able to do for himself or herself. The caregiver will do all of this while continuing to orchestrate his or her own life at the same time. The result is a tremendous amount of stress for the caregiver, who often has no idea where to turn for support.
A caregiver may feel he or she needs to take care of every aspect of their loved one’s life; however, this is not necessarily true. The National Cancer Institute points out the absolute necessity of asking for assistance from friends and other members of the family. If those resources are limited, there may be community-based outreach programs that can help the caregiver tend to the patient.
There are a number of websites that are dedicated to giving caregivers the support and resources they need to make the best decisions for their loved ones as well as themselves. Cancer Care offers a variety of services for those individuals who have dedicated a portion of their life to caring for a loved one who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma. They have counseling services, support groups, and a variety of workshops especially designed to help those who are helping others. Strength for Caring offers information specifically tailored for caregivers, tips on caring for others, and facilitates interaction between caregivers. As the name suggests, caring for others requires a tremendous amount of strength.
End of life care can be especially difficult for the caregiver because, while he or she may be completely focused on giving their loved one the best care possible, they are quite likely not dealing with the emotional stress associated with knowing that loved one will soon be gone. Additionally, all of the physical, psychological, and emotional demands made on caregivers at this time can make them feel physically and emotionally drained.
If you have a loved one who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma and you will be his or her primary caregiver, it is important that you realize this is not something you will be able to do alone. It will be beneficial for you and your loved one if you reach out for the support of other caregivers and professionals who understand your situation. Being able to share the burden will make the entire process a bit more manageable.