For those chronic illness patients who have a family member as a part-time or full-time caregiver, it is a relief to know that your care is in the hands of someone who knows you and has your best interests at heart. But sometimes it can be stressful to think of the added mental and physical workload that is now resting on the shoulders of your loved one.
I do not have a caregiver. I am fortunate to be living independently and can manage my own finances, engage in volunteer activities, manage my medicines, get a lot of exercise and prepare my meals without help. But there are some occasions where I need to have the support of friends and family members. I am familiar with the nagging feeling in my mind about whether I am asking too much, always concerned that am putting a strain on those in my extended support network.
When I decided to start a chronic illness support group, I consulted with a number of people for advice. One of the people was a former government colleague/friend who had been treated for myeloma. He participated in three different support groups and gave me a number of tips about the activities and discussions of each group and how they helped the members.
My friend’s wife also participated as a member in some group meetings in her capacity as a caregiver. Even though caregivers do not have the chronic illness, it is hard work taking care of the patients when they are ill, being their extra sets of ears and eyes, and being their advocates. I realized this must take an emotional toll on them over the long haul of the patient’s chronic illness, and I concluded caregivers need support just as much as the patients. So that caused me to wonder exactly who is it that takes care of the support giver?
In a post several weeks ago, I discussed my goal to start a support group for people with chronic illnesses. I am happy to report that a plan is quickly coming together. In fact things came together so quickly that the first meeting will be held before the end of this month.
I thought I would use the popular “FAQ” (or Frequently Asked Questions) format to provide you with the details.
Melanie discovered that she had heart failure in 2013. Since that time, she has been learning how to live with the condition, and how to achieve balance and personal growth.