Tips For Caregivers: Help Yourself, Along With Your Loved One

If you have been suddenly thrust into the challenging role of a caregiver, a road map can be helpful. Nilima Bhat, a caregiver herself, has some useful tips for caregivers.

Cancer traumatizes the family as much as it does the individual. But the implications for the primary caregiver and the rest of the family are largely ignored. Dealing with cancer in the family is not easy. Further, cancer can cement some family relationships, while in others, it can break them.

4 Important tips for caregivers

Nilima Bhat was Vijay’s primary caregiver when he was diagnosed with colon cancer in Dec 2001. Through her personal story, she reveals some important tips for caregivers.

  1. Wear your oxygen mask first: If you’re not fueled or energised yourself how are you going to be of any help to anybody. Learn to care for yourself first.
  2. Know where to draw the line: It’s also important to be aware of one’s own energy levels and draw a line. Be realistic and understand what you can do and what you can’t.
  3. Seek emotional support for yourself: In a way, you’re going through the same emotional trauma and suffering that the cancer patient is going through. Actively seek support from friends, family, support groups, books that inspire.
  4. Use the pain to fuel your own growth: Cancer is an opportunity for growth not just for the patient but also for the caregiver. Discover the wells of courage, wisdom and growth deep within, during this experience.

Reflection

  • While caring for your loved , how do you look after yourself?
  • Are you trying to do it all alone? What holds you back from reaching out and asking for help?
  • How can you equip yourself better for this unexpected role? What internal and external resources can you access?
  • How are you dealing with your pain?
  • What makes the struggle worthwhile? How can it transform your life, and you, for the better?
  • What can you do to see the pain not as a curse, but as a gift?

Nothing can prepare you for the cancer journey. But advice from someone who have been there, done that can certainly make you better informed. You can watch the Cancer Awakens video series here and read the articles here.

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