Thanksgiving in the US is celebrated in many ways—coming together with family and friends, honoring food and cultural traditions, and, typically, giving thanks.
In November we would like to give thanks and support to our Caregiver community!
No two patients are alike and, therefore, no two caregivers operate the same either. However, we do witness quite frequently feelings of stress and helplessness they express. It stands to reason—by definition, caregivers care about the patient a great deal, yet oftentimes are unable to take away their pain, properly nourish them, and manage their emotional stress.
VCS provides our patients with access to experts to help them and their caregivers navigate the cancer care journey together. Today, we bring the experience of two of these experts, a registered dietitian and licensed clinical social worker, to share their thoughts and best tips for positive patient/caregiver cooperation.
Shelley Maniscalco, MPH, RD on helping to nourish the patient without creating additional stress and tension:
Food is central in providing care to a family member or friend. In fact, in many cultures, food is love and, let’s face it, caregiving is love as well. However, while many will express their love via food, sometimes it can be too much and causes strain.
Tracy Tierney, MSW, LCSW, works with caregivers to help cope with the stress of caring for a loved one with cancer.
We are grateful for all of the caregivers who help take care of our patients. Providing care to a loved one who is going through the cancer care journey can be both rewarding and challenging. For some, caregiving comes naturally. Others might not have considered caregiving as a strong personal skill, but suddenly find themselves in that role. Caregivers have a wide range of responsibilities that they assist patients with: providing support with day-to-day activities, hands-on physical care, and emotional support. Challenges can arise from the physical and emotional stress of caregiving. It may be difficult for loved ones to accept care and support. A caregiver might have their own health issues that make caregiving difficult. Those in the caregiving role often set aside their own needs to provide the care and support that their loved one requires. The importance of self-care cannot be stressed enough: be sure to keep up with your own healthcare needs, eat healthy meals, get enough rest, exercise, and make time for relaxation.