Mesothelioma Caregiver Support
If your loved one has malignant mesothelioma, it’s normal to want to do everything you can to help them recover and feel comfortable. As a mesothelioma caregiver, it’s important that you seek support to reduce stress and avoid burnout. You can feel more supported by sharing care duties with family and friends, joining a mesothelioma support group, and practicing self-care.
Caring for Someone With Mesothelioma
Caring for a loved one with mesothelioma — be it your spouse, parent, friend, or another relative — may feel like a full-time job.
People diagnosed with mesothelioma not only need expert medical care, but they may also need help coordinating appointments, traveling to and from their cancer treatment center, and even doing daily household activities like tidying up or shopping for groceries.
If you are a mesothelioma caregiver, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and sad — especially without help from others.
“[It was] very tough on my family. Very hard on my kids. Hard on all of us. It changes your life. Cancer changes everybody’s life.”
– Mary Jane, Mesothelioma Patient
For this reason, it’s important to seek support from loved ones, friends and community members, support groups, and other organizations. This ensures both your loved one and you are receiving the best care possible.
Tips for Mesothelioma Caregivers
If you are new to caregiving, or if you’re feeling burnt out, the following tips can help you manage your stress — and your loved one’s health — more effectively.
Prepare for Caregiving
After your loved one has a confirmed mesothelioma diagnosis, ask their doctor about what your role will be as a caregiver. A mesothelioma doctor can give you a better idea of how to prepare and how you can help.
Additionally, becoming educated on your loved one’s condition can help you know what to expect as you serve in this caregiving role.
You can learn about mesothelioma from the:
- American Cancer Society
- American Lung Association
- Mayo Clinic
- National Cancer Institute
- National Organization for Rare Disorders
Join a Mesothelioma Support Group
A mesothelioma support group brings you together with other mesothelioma patients and caregivers. These groups also provide a safe place where you can speak about your emotions and challenges.
Mesothelioma caregiver support groups meet:
- Over the phone
In-person groups can be found by speaking to an oncologist (cancer doctor), while online groups are available on social media sites like Facebook.
The importance of self-care cannot be stressed enough as you support someone with cancer. By caring for yourself, you can recharge and, in turn, provide more effective assistance to your loved one.
Ways practice self-care as a mesothelioma caregiver include:
- Exercising regularly
- Finding time to relax
- Following a regular schedule
- Maintaining a social life
- Understanding your feelings
You can also reach out to a mental health professional who can help you understand your emotions and cope with the experience.
“Your own health and safety must come first if you want to keep helping your loved one.”
– The American Cancer Society
Ask for Help From Others
The American Cancer Society (ACS) strongly encourages mesothelioma caregivers to work with friends, family, and even professionals to see if they can take on a portion of your caregiving duties. There is no shame in getting help.
For example, you can ask a trusted relative or friend to pick up groceries or do other household tasks while you take your loved one to a doctors’ appointment. You can also look into getting an in-home nurse or aide if you can’t provide full-time care.