It is really hard to take care of my husband, as he is getting sicker. What resources are there for me to help me not get burnout?
AnswerChristina Bach, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, Oncology Social Worker at Penn Medicine, responds:
Being a caregiver is at the same time an amazing and exhausting process. Taking stock of your resources is an important first step in knowing what kind of help you may need, as well as a good preparation for how to ask for help.
By taking stock, I mean looking at the day-to-day activities and appointments that need to be completed; everything from getting out of bed and dressed in the morning, to driving to appointments, to paying bills, to food shopping. Figure out what tasks are you able to farm out to others that are willing to help. Get out a calendar and plan who is bringing meals on specific nights and when appointments for treatments, doctor visits, or scans occur. This will enable you to visualize what the week may look like and what gaps need to be filled.
But above all, it important to feel comfortable with asking for and receiving help, as well as understanding that by asking for help, you are not burdening others. Our other friends, family and support persons want to know what they can do, and if we are able to give them specific tasks it can be helpful to all.
There are also caregiver support groups available and great resources at http://www.caregiver.com/
Good luck! And thank you for all you are doing for your husband.
This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire Focus on Mesothelioma transcript.