Today's topic is advice for caregivers professional or otherwise, I'm not sure where to begin with this topic. This past week I have been a patient experiencing things from the other side as a member of my husband's family is in the hospital.
I think the first thing I would say is to LISTEN, this applies to personal and professional caregivers, for some odd reason when you get sick people around you seem to think you can't think for yourself, and your input is no longer valid. You are no longer an educated person with a valid opinion, you are just sick and weak in their minds. Our bodies may be weaker, we are still the same people we were before. I will admit at times I suffer from brain fog, I also know people who are not sick who can't remember things half the time.
Patients will tell you what is wrong, why they're doing what they're doing if you're listening. People spend so much time talking, telling us what we they thing we should be doing. They tell us what we should eat, how much we should eat, how much sleep we need, when we should see the doctor, asking why you do this? why aren't you doing that? The list is endless. At some point you just stop talking, because no one is listening. They spend so much time judging what we are doing, not enough time looking for an explanation. I know much of the time it is out of concern, if they would take a few minutes and ask they would know why.
Then you might find a doctor who will ignore you because of their ego. They might rush through the appointment, dismiss your symptoms, tell you "it's all in your head." My advice, if you feel something is wrong, or you're not being listened to, find a new doctor.
I would also tell Caregivers to Educate themselves on your conditions, it is helpful to understand what you are going through. Go with you to doctors appointments when you can, ask questions, research, and again listen, I know after 25 years I know more than I ever wanted to know medically. Doctors go to school maybe 8 years for a degree, I have been going 25 years. We call ourselves "professional patients."
Another things Caregivers need is patience, much of it! Put yourselves in our shoes, think about your worst day with the flu, or when you broke an arm or a leg, how bad did you feel. Think about living with that everyday for the rest of your lives. Add to it, people judging you, people not understanding, dealing with the isolation. We have good and bad days, sometimes our moods change multiple times in one day depending on our pain levels, try to understand and be patient.
Lastly, take time for yourself, eat right, exercise, relax, find a way to get rid of the stress in a healthy way. Some days it may not seem like it, we do appreciate all that you do!