CARING FOR THE CAREGIVERS

WHO IS A CAREGIVER?
A caregiver is a person who helps any patient to get through any
disease like cancer, covid etc.[1].
A caregiver could be anyone like a family member, a doctor, or a
close friend[2]. When the family is not around, close friends, co-
workers, or neighbours may fulfil this role[3]. The caregiver has a
vital role in the patient’s care[3]. Good, reliable caregiver support
is essential to people’s physical and emotional well-being with
cancer or other ailments[3].
Every kind of caregiving has its hurdles, as well as its happiness[2].
So much of the attention is centred on the person getting the care
that people forget the Caregivers[2]. It is relatively essential to
care for those involved in caregiving[2]. Caregiving can have a
profound effect on the mental and physical well-being of a
person[2].
Caregivers act as home health aides and companions[3]. They may
aid to feed, dress, and bathe the patient[3]. Caregivers organize
schedules, manage insurance issues, and give transportation[3].
They are legal assistants, financial managers, and housekeepers of
the family[3]. They often have to take over the person’s duties with
any ailment and still satisfy the needs of other family members[3].

A NEW ROLE
Whether you’re younger or older, you may see yourself in a unique
role as a caregiver[1]. You may have been part of somebody’s life
before any disease, but possibly now, the way you help that person

is changing[1]. For, e.g., you may be taking care of your
husband/wife, who has always been healthy, or a grown-up child
taking care of your parents[1]. Regardless of whatever your roles
are now, it’s normal to experience perplexity and stress at this
time[1]. If caregiving feels new or unique to you, try not to
worry[1]. Many caregivers state that they learn more as they go
through their loved one’s treatment[1]. And if you want to, try to
share your feelings with friends, a support group or a counsellor[1].
Many caregivers say that communicating with others helped
them[1].
They feel they could say things that they couldn’t always tell their
loved ones[1].

Some tips to help caregivers the love they deserve

UNDERSTANDING YOUR FEELINGS
You probably have many feelings when you take care of your loved
ones[1]. But you are not able to understand them[1]. Every person
is unique[1].
Some feelings that usually happen for time and then stop are:-
1-Sadness. It’s alright to feel sad. But if it carries on for more than
two weeks, and it prevents you from doing what you require to do,
speak to your doctor[1].
2- Anger. You may be enraged at yourself or your family members.
You may be mad at the person you’re caring for. Know that anger
often arises from fear, stress, or panic. Try to see what is under the
anger[1].

3- Grief. You were possibly feeling a loss of what you worth most.
This may be the loss of your day-to-day life or your loved one’s
health. Let yourself mourn these losses[1].
4- Guilt. Feeling guilty is normal, too. You may assume you aren’t
helping enough. Or you may feel wrong that you are healthy[1].
5- Loneliness. You can feel alone, even with many people around
you. You may think that no one realizes your worries and
problems. You may also be spending a short time with others[1].

HEALTHY LIVING
Living healthy in peace under the eccentric shade of nature looks
unreal in today’s fast-paced world[2]. We often underestimate the
simplistic beauty of living a healthy lifestyle and take this for
granted. A healthy lifestyle commences with a healthy diet[2].
That’s why it’s necessary to prepare a diet chart and follow it
consistently[2]. This can be done by trying different types of
healthy diet like a raw food diet, paleo diet, Vegan diet, and all,
whatever suits you[2]. This simple deed can work wonders for a
person’s wellness, and implementing this brings discipline in
life[2].

SEEKING FOR AID
Always know that you do not have to do this solely[4]. Even if
you’re the chief caretaker, you may get the help of other family
members and friends with various expertise to assist you with the
tasks[4]. Consider asking a friend or another family member to
take shifts while staying in hospital, dropping your children to
school, etc. [4].

Many caregivers may feel uncomfortable asking others for help[4].
Know that there is nothing wrong with asking for help, assigning a
task, or asking a friend to volunteer[4]. You may also reach
professional aid, e.g., Nurse, homecare services, etc., to help
you[4].
Try to have some people on standby to fill in for you or run duties
if need be[4]. This will aid you to stay calm and avoid panic
situations[4]. Remember that by asking for help, you will have
more energy, your loved one may feel less guilty about burdening
you with their responsibility, other supporters may offer the skill
or time you may not have[4]. Be ready to take a “NO” as an answer
from some, too[4].

GET ASSISTANCE FROM COUNSELLORS OR SUPPORT GROUPS
It is hard to efficiently care for your loved one if you suffer
emotionally and physically[5]. Find a network with others who’ve
encountered a related situation[5]. It just serves to know you’re
not the only one that’s ever been through this[5]. We get aid from
trained peer supporters from these groups, someone who’s “been
there”[5]. Teaming up with them provided us with an immediate
sense of community[5]. We belonged simply because we’d all gone
through a related experience[5]. Don’t hesitate to ask professional
help from your physician or other appropriate professionals if you
are coping with emotions that feel “out-of-control,” sentiments
that don’t seem to be getting better, or physical signs of malady or
stress[5].

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION and ACCEPTANCE

The patient and the caregiver must converse openly and
honestly[4]. Know what the patient is going through, take heed of
their beliefs and be upfront about your sentiments and
commitments[4]. Also, try to accept the patient’s physical
limitations and all[4]. Once you develop an accepting nature,
things will get more manageable[4]. You may take command but
allow them the liberty of being in charge and calling the shots[4].
Do not take the wrath of your loved one personally[4]. Understand
that it is natural for them to show their stress or anger towards
you[4]. Do not become domineering in your efforts to help[4].

CARING FOR YOURSELF
You may feel too greedy to take care of yourself when your family
member has cancer or any life-threatening disease[4]. But it is
essential that both your physical and mental health are provided
with a part of care for you to do a caregiver’s job without getting
burnt-out or stressed[4]. Here are some things that you must
continue to do, in addition to taking care of your family members.
● Do exercise[4].
● Eat good and healthy food[4].
● Prioritize your time as well as energy towards yourself and
other remaining members of the family too[4].
● Nurture your health[4].
● Get adequate rest[4].
● Take breaks. Practice meditation, yoga and deep breathing to
relax your mind[4].
● Join support or counselling groups[4].
● Do something that boosts your mood, such as reading, or
indulge in a hobby[4].

STAY POSITIVE
A positive attitude can benefit you by setting the tone for all you
do[6]. You may not control what occurs to you, but you can
change how you respond[6]. An optimistic vision sets a warmer
and supportive tone in everything you do and constantly motivates
the patient[4].

UNDERSTAND THE PATIENT’S DIAGNOSIS
As a caregiver, you may see that your responsibilities range
beyond what you assumed[6]. Knowing the diagnosis, the standard
treatment and the road ahead can aid you[4]. In addition to
communicating with your doctor, you may also read about new
research and potential new treatments from scientific forums and
support groups and talk to your Oncologists(in case of cancer) or
other disease specialists[4]. Understand the possible unwanted
effects of treatment, the cost involved and ask for a second
opinion, if required[4]. Ask your doctor about the possible
challenges in caregiving through the trajectory of the illness and
how to equip yourself[4].

Caregivers are often the casualties, the hidden victims.
No one sees the sacrifices they make.
Judith l. London