Caregiving....

When someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer it dramatically affect the lives of families and all others who have a relationship with the patient. The patient and the entire family will experience an emotional, physical and, possibly, a financial impact. Each will have to rearrange his or her daily activities to some degree, and these changes do not come easily to any of the people involved. And in my case there is no one else that can help with the daily running to Doctors' and other appointments. I am blessed to have friends and relatives that help with things that I cannot do...snow blowing the driveway...car maintenance...helping with paperwork that needs to be notarized or if I need something from the store and can't get out...listening...loving...and phone calls of support along with e mails come in daily from a network cast near and far...
Family caregivers have become a vital extension of the healthcare team. Blood cancers are often treated on an outpatient basis, leaving the responsibility of the details of patient management to a caregiver.
In October 2000, The National Family Caregivers Association estimated that there were 25 million Americans taking care of a spouse, child, aging parent or other loved one. Whether you are new to caregiving or it has become a way of life, the daily struggle you face in caring for someone else's basic needs can be overwhelming. The level of help a person needs from their caregiver varies from light assistance to total care. And my thoughts and well wishes are with you and your loved one....My heart goes out to all of you....
Caregiving often starts gradually with tasks such as driving to medical appointments, shopping for groceries, and housecleaning. However, over time you may provide more care, perhaps even providing round-the-clock care.
If you know anyone....anyone at all who is a caregiver...PLEASE, don't ask them if they need help...as they will usually say NO....just do something nice...make a meal and take it over...send a card to them to let them know that THEY are in your thoughts....Offer them an ear...offer them your heart...offer them love! When everyone is focused on the patient...the caregiver sometimes just gets lost in the shuffle....


3 comments:

Barb said...

Very well said. We all know someone who has the added agenda of caregiver and, you are correct, they don't often openly ask for or accept offers of help. Thank you for reminding me that it takes so little from me to lighten someone's load. I'm so glad you have others to help you, and I know how much it means to you.

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Laura Hegfield said...

I've been looking back through your entries and this one stood out so much for me. I had lunch with a friend today...it was a momentous occasion to me to be out of the house and away from my daughter today...she was in school and feeling pretty well. My friend, who I have not seen since December (It's now February) appologized for not being available to help (she works full time, goes to college and has a 16 year old)...I was so touched that she felt this way...and I said with all honesty, "You e-mail me, you call...that's what I need. I need to know that you're listening and praying...we are managing the other stuff. We're ok". And it's true. I can't ask a friend to come help with the laundry or do the shopping. But to be an ear...a heart. My situation is different from yours in many big ways, but still...I can say after just a few short months of being so ever present for my sick child that the love of our family and friends, even from a distance is truly enough to get us through this.

Laura