Strategies for Caregivers of Lymphoma Patients
While caregivers often prefer to take a backseat when it comes to making time for themselves, as they might believe their situation pales in comparison to that of the patient, it is crucial to exhibit self-care. Here are some strategies that can assist.
Accept that you are the caregiver
Sometimes people confuse caregivers for trained professionals who are paid to care for patients. While this can be the case, often caregivers are simply those in the patient's lives who are looking out for them.
Normally, caregiving begins with small tasks and favors, such as picking up groceries, cleaning the house, or driving someone to their appointments. However, as these pile up, caregiving can essentially be a full-time job, and include more intense tasks, such as feeding, bathing, ensuring the correct medications are taken, overlooking financial and legal matters, and arranging medical care.
So, regardless of what your relationship is to the patient, or what your background is, if you are caring for someone who is no longer able to manage properly on their own - you are a caregiver. One of the first steps in your own care is to accept that this term applies to you. The good thing is that this means you are also qualified for certain benefits of a caregiver.
Regardless of whether you are a son, daughter, mother, father, or complete stranger to the patient, you are their caregiver if you are assisting them with their daily needs, anything from helping them to get dressed in the morning to balancing their checkbook.
The odds are that someone in your life has told you that you need to be paying more attention to yourself; maybe even the patient you are caring for has told you that. It is easy to dismiss these statements when the patient clearly has immediate needs, and from the outside you might be doing fine. It is especially difficult to prioritize your own needs when the patient is a loved one. However, you will be able to offer them more if you first take care of yourself.
Don’t overstep your boundaries
If the patient is your loved one, you will likely want to help them in any way you possibly can and make their life as easy as possible, but this mindset could actually be more harmful than helpful.
It is necessary to acknowledge that the patient has the right to make their own decisions, as long as they are still capable of doing so. Unless people will be put in danger, let them decide what the best course of action is in terms of their own care. Sometimes these decisions will be difficult to face, but you must respect their autonomy at every stage in the process, regardless of how difficult it might be.
Read on to learn more about being a caretaker, not only for others but for yourself as well.