Finding out about a loved one's fight with cancer can be overwhelming. It's obvious to be plagued with questions like – "what should we do next?" or "how do I help?" The caregivers at such a state must keep calm and shift all the focus to the patient's happiness.
It is a known fact that most of the treatments, medical aids and even recovery is seen happening at home rather than in the hospitals. Hence it's essential that the patients are surrounded by their loved ones.
Be it a family member or a friend, caring for a cancer patient can be challenging but we need to remember that it's always a team effort. Not only does the patient suffer but the caregivers are equally affected by the ordeal. The following seven tips can help the caregivers tackle all the challenges on this journey, which include providing emotion, physical and even financial support to the loved one.
1. Bring in some positivity
Most of the patients feel like their life has already come to an end with the break of the illness. However, this is far from the truth. It's paramount that the caregivers bring in some positivity to the table by either always being happy themselves, sharing positive ideas or most importantly maintaining a smile on their face. It can difficult to be happy and smiling all the time but in pushing themselves to smile, caregivers will find their moods being uplifted.
2. Be normal
Patients need love and attention at this stage but also need to feel normal to continue living like usual. Avoid statements of pity or sympathy. Instead try being more empathetic towards the patient by behaving the same way you would at any other point in life. The last thing a patient wants is to be told that everything will be okay.
3. Get well informed
When the caregivers study about the type of cancer, medication and symptoms, they are better equipped to help the patient. It is important to discuss your findings with the patients because ultimately you will be discussing their life. Go for the doctor appointments with them and understand the extra medical help that can be provided at home. Acquainting yourself with the medical team can help deal with emergencies.
4. Help plan finances
Cancer treatments are expensive and the greatest help you can provide is by managing the paperwork of medical bills, insurance and keeping a track of other expenses. Get the patient insured under a cancer plan. Aditya Birla Health Insurance has a cancer plan that provides aid with doctor treatments which might help immensely. As a caregiver, you must talk with the insurance company to understand reimbursements and coverage of the treatment or any other issues.
5. Plan for future
Uncertainty is the blanket feeling in the homes who are suffering from cancer. In such a scenario try to schedule some fun activities. In the beginning planning such events might be difficult but will eventually give you and your loved ones something to look forward to. It will also help make memories that can be cherished. As the patients become the center of attention, plan for a future where you consider both the possibilities of them being and not being there. This will help deal with uncertainty better.
6. Indulge in mind-body relaxation techniques
Yoga, meditation and some forms of art like painting are known to relieve stress. These also help in healing faster. Indulging in these activities along with the patient will strengthen your bond, help release your stress and better their health in the process, giving the family the much needed mental break.
7. Care for your own health
Caring for others can take a toll on your own health. This is detrimental for both- you and the patient. An ill person cannot give full attention to the ailing. Hence, you must find the time to rejuvenate and strike a balance between patient's care and your own.
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