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Guest Post: Caregiving for Senior Mesothelioma Patients

The words seem to come out of nowhere.

“I have mesothelioma.”

When those three words sputter across your loved one’s lips, life changes in ways you don’t know how to imagine.

A mesothelioma diagnosis is often terminal. Some patients try to maintain their everyday life the way it was before their diagnosis, but often, the symptoms become so intense that they need to reach out to a caregiver for assistance.

What are you supposed to do if that caregiver is you?

Providing Care at Home

Mesothelioma patients have the option of staying at home and receiving care from their loved ones. Caregivers may be asked to handle a number of different responsibilities, including:

  1. Assisting with dressing, showering and other hygiene activities

  2. Cooking, cleaning and handling other daily chores

  3. Administering medicine

  4. Driving the patient to doctors’ appointments

  5. Helping the patient get more comfortable

A caregiver may have to take on additional activities if the patient does not respond well to treatment. Mesothelioma patients may require full-time care; for caregivers who work full-time, this can be difficult. In some cases, it may be more beneficial to the patient to have a caregiving team to share the duties that add up as the cancer progresses.

Reaching Out for More Help

If the patient decides with his or her family that additional care would be best, several different options are available. Hospice, assisted living facilities and other inpatient programs can provide round-the-clock care for serious conditions. As a patient’s condition becomes more serious, these programs can help patients maintain their quality of life.

Even when caregivers decide to continue handling all the responsibilities, they may need to reach out for additional help for themselves. Working full-time, managing one’s own life and caring for a mesothelioma patient can put a lot of stress on the brain, body and heart. During this time, caregiver support groups are an invaluable resource. To best take care of the patient, caregivers must also remember to take care of themselves.

Author bio: Faith Franz is a writer for the Mesothelioma Center. She combines her interests in whole-body health and medical research to educate the mesothelioma community about the newest developments in cancer care.

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