Beside every person with myeloma stands a supportive caregiver. At least we hope every person is blessed with a loved one to support them in their myeloma journey. If you don’t have a support person- you can find one-on-one support, encouragement and resources with a Myeloma Coach.
We talk often about tools and strategies for individuals with myeloma to deal with treatment, side effects and life changes. We then often share tools for caregivers to care for their loved one with myeloma. What about care for the caregiver?? They, too need tools and strategies for dealing with the life changes that directly and deeply impact them.
November is National Family Caregivers Month. We’d like to take a moment to thank, honor, and share tools with all of you caring for a loved one with myeloma. Caregiving is filled with ups, downs, twists, turns and can quickly become exhausting. In order to fulfill your responsibilities as a caregiver, it is imperative that you first take care of yourself. Here are a few ideas to help you find the balance of caring for the one you love and also caring for yourself.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
- No one can do everything. Determine your priorities and consider delegating appropriate tasks to others who can help (neighbors, friends, or extended family members). Many are often ready and willing to help, but are waiting for us to ask.
- Take care of yourself
- Caring for your own individual needs can give you the strength you need to carry on.
- Find time to relax. Downtime is important to allow you to rejuvenate, renew and recover physically and emotionally from caregiving tasks.
- Participate in activities that YOU enjoy. Pursuing your own hobbies, and favorite activities will relieve stress, increase your joy and help achieve life balance.
- Take care of your physical health. Exercising, eating healthy, and getting adequate sleep will provide the health and strength you need.
- Keep up your routine: this will provide a sense of normalcy, as well as continue to connect you with others in your life from which you can draw support and friendship.
- Take care of your mental/emotional health:
- Record feelings/emotions in a journal
- Work to focus on gratitude/consider writing in a gratitude journal
- Talk to someone who can relate (consider working with a Myeloma Coach who is also a caregiver).
- Consider joining a support group
Taking time to care for yourself is not selfish, it is simply caring for yourself, which is essential for everyone.
We honor and applaud all caregivers who stand beside those they love through myeloma. Our goal at the HealthTree foundation is to provide support and resources for all impacted by myeloma- both patient and caregiver. We offer one-to-one support through the Myeloma Coach program where you can choose a Coach according to your preferences. Coaches are available to both patients and caregivers. They offer shared experience, encouragement and can share resources that have helped them.
The Myeloma Crowd Events program also offers a Myeloma Caregiver Chapter where caregivers can find support, education, and resources to help you take the best care of yourself as well as your loved one. All myeloma caregivers are invited to participate- join today!
Caregiver support is of high value to us. If there are topics you as a caregiver would like more information on or support with, I would love to hear from you. Please send any suggestions, comments or feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
about the author
Rozalynn Hite is the HealthTree Coach Director and wife of myeloma patient Richard Hite. Rozalynn is an occupational therapist and mother of three beautiful children.