Monday, May 6, 2013

More on Caregiver Support

This last weekend, I was in Wisconsin, giving a talk about coping with advanced or metastatic breast cancer.  I spoke a bit about the need to take care of our caregivers.....they have needs, and are being drained emotionally and spiritually as well as possibly physically (depending on the situation).  After the presentation, one of the ladies in the audience asked if there were any support groups for caregivers locally.

The city I was speaking in had a population of 80,000 and presumably would pull from the outside area as well.  However, the host facilitator said that no, they didn't, although caregivers were encouraged to attend the support groups with their patient.....

That just isn't a good idea.  They need their own.  I suppose that it is a good stop gap measure....but to my mind, the patient AND the caregiver need to have an outlet where they can talk separately about the issues they have....Just as when I get together with my quilting friends we sometimes grump about the silly things our spouses have done....which is a way of getting it out of our systems without taking it out on the spouse.

Caregivers and patients do not necessarily have the same issues.  Caregivers may be  afraid that they are losing their patient.  They may be  afraid that they aren't doing a good enough job, and they also have a lot to learn in a short amount of time.  They need to take care of the needs of their patient as well as other standing obligations, whether it is job, family, household, as well as tending to their own health and person.  Sometimes they are taking on several new roles.

I wish that cancer centers and cancer support groups would take a stronger look at this.  It doesn't even have to be a group specific to a single type of cancer....but I think that it is needed....

(The above photo is an image of my Great Grandfather, John Robert Ross with his first family.  His wife, Isabella McBain (or McBane) died, leaving him with several children to take care of...he ultimately remarried, to his also widowed housekeeper who had three children of her own...going on to have a blended family).  I am a descendant of the second Ross family.)

1 comment:

  1. I agree wholeheartedly! I'm a metastatic woman, too, and always say that in some ways this is more difficult on my husband than it is on me. I get all kinds of support, hugs, gifts, notes, etc from friends and family. He doesn't get as much PLUS he's helping to pick up more of the load in our personal life with our daughter to lower my stress levels. EVERY community needs to have a support group nearby.