Caring for the Carer - Caregiver Guide

 

Contents:  Caring for the Carer




    


 We Care for You, the Carer, when Health Matters Most.


Cancer is just one illness that may require the assistance of a caregiver. Being a caregiver can impact your physical, emotional, and financial health and well being.

When you go through a caregiving experience, it can seem odd and even unreal. You are not alone in the experience or in facing these challenges.

We not only support patients, but we also support families and friends. We educate families, giving them the tools they need to provide the proper level of care for their loved ones.

Each caregiver deserves understanding, support and empowerment throughout their journey.

Join us as we support, encourage, admire, hearten and egg you on as the caregiver to truly put yourself first in order to survive your caregiver role.



The aim of The Dynamic Turnaround Team is to support you with love and compassion and to provide you with resources, information and empowerment to make your journey as a caregiver easier.

 We will  help each caregiver become educated in methods of self-care while caring for another, with minimal fear, guilt or resentment.

We will support you to explore different options to avoid physically emotionally and financially burnout, to avoid crisis situations during the caregiving journey.

We wish to help you to be the best carer you can be, while we also support you to recognize your own needs.

As Health Creation Mentors we will support you, the carer, and will help you to look after your own important needs and commitments along the way. We would like to introduce you to the Health Creation Carers Guide, which will help you to be the best care you can be and put you back in control of your own needs and life.


    


Caregiving is an act of love


Caregiving is an act of love, but it can be filled with the frustration, pain, exhaustion. It is also part of life. And life is filled with joys, wonderment and new exciting journeys as well as the frustration, pain and exhaustion.

Sometimes it's a matter of making ourselves look around for the sunshine. Sometimes it a matter of permitting ourselves to walk out into the sunshine when we find it.  I highly recommend taking that walk whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Being a caregiver is a demanding job. There is usually very little, if any opportunity to prepare for a new caregiving situation. The well-being of the caregiver requires priority consideration. Thought must be given to the fate of the care recipient if the caregiver becomes unable to continue with caregiving responsibilities.

Whether the stress of taking care of someone comes from the physical or emotional caregiving experience, or the shear guilt of not wanting to be responsible, but knowing it needs to be done, it can take a real toll on the body, mind and relationships that are linked to the “care-ee”. Many caregivers feel they, “Didn’t sign up for this.”

Let's not forget the financial strain either. Caregiving at home, whether you are doing it yourself or hiring and managing an in-home caregiver is time consuming and expensive.

 
        

CARING FOR OTHERS - CARING FOR YOURSELF


When you are caring for a loved one it is also important to save some time and energy for yourself. Being a carer is a balancing act between the needs of your loved one you are caring for and your own needs in your life. 


Becoming a family caregiver for someone you love is one of those heart wrenching and at times enlightening life lessons. Your role as a family caregiver can happen abruptly or creep in slowly-unnoticed until one day you realize you are caring more for someone else than you are for yourself.

You find yourself beginning to struggle with the day-to-day demands and somewhere along the way, you realize you have lost your identity and have allowed the caregiving role to define who you are. Your new role as a family caregiver can become as frightening as the initial diagnosis.              

Caregivers are susceptible to depression, illness, physical exhaustion and emotional exhaustion. Taking on a caring role can mean facing a life of poverty, isolation, frustration Ill health and depression. Many carers give up an income, future employment prospects and pension rights to become a carer. The majority of carers struggles alone and do not know that help is available to them.

Perhaps the greatest unmet need among caregivers, although infrequently stated voluntarily, is finding personal time for themselves. Over 90% of caregivers say they need more help managing their emotions. Care giving takes a toll both physically and emotionally. Solutions that allow personal time and pampering occasions for the caregiver result in healthier, more emotionally stable care providers. A positive effect on the care recipient is also likely to occur. The message here is simple: find time for yourself.


    


Cancer is a twenty-four hour affair. As with other long-term illnesses, you may become emotionally drained as you care for your  love one and worry about the changes that may occur in him or her. But your loved ones well - being depends directly on your well-being. 

When the caregiver feels that the needs of their care recipient are being met the caregiver’s needs tend to shift from the needs of their loved one to their own needs. Some caregivers never reach this point, but it is absolutely vital for caregivers to take care of themselves in order to provide the best care to their loved ones.

When a caregiver’s own needs are taken care of, peace of mind can occur. Peace of mind refers to the caregivers’  ability to “connect” with their loved one they care for from a distance. Knowing that their loved one is safe and is receiving proper care in their absence can reduce stress and allow caregivers the opportunity to focus guilt-free on other demands, such as work or other family members.

Many carers reach a turning point, a crossroads, at which they feel they need help, where they may simply need a break or more regular support. Look out for the special quality of care that gives you the peace of mind to let someone else step into your shoes. 

As a caregiver or co-survivor, you have a journey of your own that may involve changes in your relationships and new insights into who you are. In many ways, your journey is similar to that of the person going through cancer. The acceptance of this disease as part of your life will require its own focused attention.

The journey can be a difficult when traveled alone; however, it does not have to be that hard and you do not and should not have to travel the road alone.


         


Self care practices help the caregivers thrive during their caregiving journey?


We hope to give you some answers to this question with the caregiver guide. The purpose of this manual is to focus on the need of the you, the caregiver. 

The Caregiver Guide is designed for you, the Caregiver, whether you are caring for a sick loved one, a person with special needs, or for one who needs your care when ill with cancer or any other life - threatening illness.

Your role is a decisive one, in deciding how long and more importantly, how well, your loved one lives. We hope that this Caregiver Guide helps you accomplish a substantial quality of life, for yourself as well as your patient. I hope that you and the person you care for, find the strength to convert this challenging situation into one of the most educating and rewarding experiences of your lifetime.

We've heard from many caregivers about things they wish they had known early on. We have collected their suggestion and experiences in this manual. Some of the tips seem simple, but they may not always be easy to do.


The Carers Guide


The Carers Guide provides carers with their own workbook to help them be the best possible carer whilst also supporting them to recognise their own state and needs. Written originally for those caring for people with cancer, this Guide is very useful for all carers.  
 
Carers are often neglected and also neglect themselves, suffering silently the enormous emotional strain and stress of maintain a brave face and optimum care for their loved one whilst taking on all the extra responsibilities and practical demands. Carers nearly always put the needs of the one they care for above their own and need active support to redress the balance
 
The Carers Guide is a superb starting place to analyse your response to the caring role and to get your own needs in focus and met whilst also being a great carer. This process then leads in perfectly to doing your Health Creation Programme to help protect you long-term from depression or stress related illness, which is all too common in those who care for another. 
 
 
  • The service offered will support your role as a carer and provide you with information that will help you better understand your emotions.  
  • Everyone is unique and will experience and do things slightly differently. Your role as a carer will depend on many factors, such as the stage of the person's cancer.
  • For all caregivers–unexpected, reluctant, or no matter what the situation, caregiving is a role that is learned along the way.

    Caregivers come in many different forms, that there is no right way to care and that if we can take care as well as give it and make peace with the experiences along the way, it can be a transformative journey.

 

Use this manual in whatever way works best for you. You can read it from front to back. Or you can just refer to different sections as you need them.


Some suggestions of this manual may apply to you while others may not. Or you may find that some sections will be more useful to you later.

Realize that you can't do it all yourself and that it is essential for your and your love ones well being that you learn to reach out for support.

Taking care of your loved ones means giving them the best care you can provide. Often, during the early months or years, that typically means your own loving, hands-on care. However, as the persons needs, you care for, grow, the best care sometimes means you need to ask others for help or even hire help to come into the home or arrange adult day care while you work. Remember, none of these changes in caregiving arrangements means you give up your role as caregiver.


Always remember: The Best Possible Caregiving Takes More Than One Person. You don't have to do it all alone.

   


 Your Partner has Cancer



        

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