Mesothelioma Caregiver Roles
Caring for someone with mesothelioma can be a full-time job — it can even be a 24/7 responsibility.
It is wise to seek mesothelioma caregivers support to:
- Stay healthy themselves
- Be good caregivers
- Stay in their caregiving role
Ideally, family and friends will take on different roles to split up responsibilities, offer support, and provide the best care. A caregiver’s responsibilities typically depend on their relationship to the patient.
Spouses often take the role of primary caregiver. Being a mesothelioma caregiver requires knowing who you can talk to and count on for help.
If family members don’t offer help, or if the help is not sufficient, spouses may turn to a circle of friends, church members, neighbors, or other support networks.
The primary caregiver is usually responsible for sharing information on the patient’s condition, needs, and care.
The role of leading a mesothelioma caregivers support team may include:
- Looking for situations where help is needed
- Making a list or calendar to keep shared responsibilities organized
- Holding regular family meetings
- Asking family and friends when and how they may be able to help
Children are often a big part of a mesothelioma caregivers support team. It can be challenging for adult children to accept that their parents are not “invincible,” but it is important to step up. This is especially important when both parents are elderly.
Adult children may offer the following support:
- Visiting regularly
- Driving their parent to doctor’s meetings and taking detailed notes
- Treating their parent to small luxuries, such as massages, manicures, and pedicures
- Helping around the house and yard
- Hiring outside nursing help
- Reading stories and recalling memories
In many families, siblings know each other very well. This can be an opportunity for a brother or sister to become an advocate for the mesothelioma patient, helping to keep dignity intact.
Siblings may also be able to recount fond childhood memories that no one else would know, providing great comfort to the mesothelioma patient as the end of life approaches.
Mesothelioma patients often have friends who are willing to help. For veterans, this may include the men and women who served with the patient in the past. These bonds are often unbreakable and can be a tremendous source of comfort.
At times, friends are not sure how they can help and may even be hesitant to offer. Staying in regular communication with a patient’s mesothelioma caregivers support team may be the best way for friends to begin.