Posted March 12, 2013 by James Rhodes in Senior Living

Taking care of the caregiver: tips to help yourself and your loved one live with a chronic disease

&ldquoCaregiver&rdquo is a title held by far more than 65 million men and women in the United States, who are presently assisting a loved 1 manage a chronic situation. A caregiver can be a substantial aid for those living with a chronic illness as portion of a patient&rsquos overall health care team, but there can also be several challenges, especially for these caring for individuals with cancer. Not only do caregivers give emotional strength and assistance, but typically also help a patient with daily requirements, such as filling prescriptions or scheduling physicians&rsquo appointments.

At an educational event recently held for those living with the blood cancer, chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), caregivers had the opportunity to ask queries of health-related specialists. In honor of November&rsquos National Caregiver Month, Dr. Eric Feldman, director of hematological malignancies at Weill Cornell Health-related College, gives guidance for a few typically asked questions:

How can caregivers handle their role as component of the patient&rsquos overall health care team?

Becoming a caregiver can be overwhelming, and some essential tips consist of:

* Educating yourself: Staying well-informed about your loved 1&rsquos condition will make you a more valuable resource for them. For example, with CML, the cancer-causing enzyme Bcr-Abl is responsible for sending signals to generate cancerous white blood cells. Understanding about the illness, which includes which medicines are created to particularly act against this enzyme, can support you to be an active participant in ongoing treatment discussions.

* Helping track outcomes: Generating a &ldquoresults journal&rdquo which is dedicated to storing test results along with his/her testing dates can support a patient maintain track of this information. With CML patients, tracking the levels of Bcr-Abl is essential for monitoring to see if the patient has reached the lowest level of disease.

* Joining a caregiver help group: Greg Stephens, founder and director of the National CML Society, urges caretakers to connect with other people going by way of comparable experiences as an chance to discover new methods to help a loved a single. These same connections can also be a source of emotional support.

What is the most essential tip?

It&rsquos important to not overlook about oneself &ndash even if it implies saying &ldquono&rdquo to your loved a single. When balancing the demands of the patient, it can be easy to neglect your own. One particular of the most common challenges is stress, but being stressed can also make it tougher for you to supply care. So make certain to take time for your self. This will help you be there to aid your loved a single as very best as you can.

Can you offer some advice for extended-distance caregiving?

Delivering care doesn&rsquot have to be reserved to only these family members members and friends who reside closest to the patient. For those who live farther away, some suggestions consist of:

* Planned visits: Seeing your loved a single in person, as often as your schedule permits, can be a very critical way to show your help for the patient and also for these caregivers who live closest. Be certain to talk with them ahead of time about what you may be able to do to assist. Just due to the fact you reside a higher distance from the patient, doesn&rsquot have to imply that you can’t be an integral component of their support network. Obtaining a program in place will maintain you from acquiring overwhelmed and stressed.

* Consider creatively: For patients and caregivers, it is essential to have sincere and open discussions with overall health care providers so they can play a much more active function in disease management. For family members members/caregivers who live far away, this can be a challenge. Stephens suggests that if you can not attend appointments in particular person that you go over with your loved a single methods in which you can be a lot more involved with their scheduled appointments by phone or teleconference. The patient&rsquos physician could also supply inventive methods for you to be more involved.

Where can I go to discover more information about cancer and the role of caregivers?

For much more information about cancer, pay a visit to the National CML Society (www.ncmls.org). For more information and to connect with other CML individuals and caregivers, check out the Novartis sponsored social networking website www.cmlearth.com.

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James Rhodes