There are Many Ways to be a Caregiver (Part 3)
Being a caregiver for any reason is a tough job to take on. It can be a physical as well as an emotional challenge. Hopefully, you have help with the task, but very often, help is difficult to come by. It's not usually anyone's fault - it's just life and work that get in the way. That's okay. If you can't be a caregiver, and most of us can't, just be there when you can.
What is a caregiver?
Caregiving can be defined in so many ways. Whatever way you define or picture being a caregiver - you're right. Everything we can imagine a person might need - is what a person might need if they are going through a health crisis. If you can help in any way, you're a caregiver. It's easy to understand what a caregiver is, but to actually allow yourself to do it is another thing.
Some suggestions for caregiving
Having helped even in just a little way with two people I love, I'd like to offer a bit of unsolicited advice. If you can help in any way, offer. Some people that barely knew us offered help and it was so touching.
- Meals are always something a person could use. The key here is to be sure you know what they can eat. Some foods may be off-limits for them right now. They will be grateful and for this, you don't even have to offer - just bring it over.
- A phone call is wonderful - even a text, but in my opinion, a phone call would be better. Let the person know you're thinking of them. You don't have to offer a thing but the gift of a few minutes of your time.
- If you are able, offering a ride to a doctor visit or chemo treatment would be nice. Having someone with you can be very comforting to some people, but it could be a necessity for others.
- If you can, be the person they can call in an emergency. Everyone needs someone and everyone needs help now and then.
- Bring them a chemo bag of goodies. You can find what to put in the bags online. One thing to be sure to add is a journal and a pen.
- Anything you can think of that might help, will help. It will all be appreciated.
Emotional healing and processing
One of the most important things you can do to help someone is to ask them how they are feeling. Let them go through their aches and pains, but then ask them about their emotions. I recently went to a functional doctor. She suggested I might be holding back some pent-up feelings. She then asked a few other questions and I started crying like a baby. Here was her suggestion for me: to see someone and talk it through, or to journal about it. If you know someone going through a bad experience, and you are like me and don't really ask how they are feeling, give them a journal. In those times when they are alone and need comfort, maybe writing down their thoughts and feelings will help. Journaling is probably good for us all. I hope this helps if you have someone you care about going through cancer.
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