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How Caregivers Can Make a Difference for Seniors with Mesothelioma

Added on December 19, 2016 by Mesothelioma_Center

How Caregivers Can Make a Difference for Seniors with Mesothelioma | Senior-With-Walking-Stick

The symptoms of mesothelioma may make it impossible for a senior to live independently, but with a dedicated and experienced caregiver, a senior can still enjoy a good quality of life.

Mesothelioma can rapidly take away a senior's ability to drive and carry out activities of daily living. A caregiver supports the senior by taking on these tasks and providing emotional support. Because caregiving for a senior with cancer is extremely demanding for untrained relatives with their own responsibilities, the services of a live-in caregiver are highly recommended.

The Effects of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that usually does not present itself until late in a patient's life. There is currently no cure and the prognosis for mesothelioma is usually unfavorable, with less than 40 percent of patients living longer than one year after diagnosis.

Many seniors have trouble with activities of daily living simply because of old age, and the symptoms of mesothelioma multiply these challenges. Because patients with mesothelioma often experience shortness of breath and muscle weakness, routine tasks, such as shopping and cleaning, may become physically demanding.

Chest pain, body aches, fever and low blood sugar further impair patients' mobility and concentration. At a time when they have to make regular trips to doctors and specialists, patients must come to rely on others for transportation once they can no longer drive themselves.

Patients with mesothelioma also experience loss of appetite and difficulty swallowing, leading to a high risk of weight loss, poor nutrition and dehydration. Depression and anxiety may further compound these issues if patients do not have constant support.

How Caregivers Help

Caregivers step in to assist with household chores, preparing meals, shopping and running errands. Equally important, caregivers provide companionship and emotional support as the seniors come to terms with having a terminal illness.

Many seniors prefer having a dedicated caregiver because this arrangement allows them to remain living in their own homes, rather than being placed in a nursing home. The default choice for a caregiver is usually a close relative such as a spouse or an adult child.

In the interim, having family members double as caregivers is a great way to save money and involve the family in their loved one's care. However, this is a heavy burden to bear for relatives who still have their own lives to look after. For this reason, seniors and their families should consider the services of a professional caregiver.

The Advantages of a Professional

In addition to assisting with daily life, a professional caregiver provides specialized services. A caregiving agency can conduct an assessment of a senior with mesothelioma and then assign a professional familiar with this type of cancer.

This means the caregiver can shop for groceries and prepare meals with the senior's nutritional needs in mind, as well as supervise the senior's medication. A professional will recommend changes to the senior's daily routine and living space that will make the senior safer and more comfortable.

Also bear in mind that a professional caregiver will feel no hesitation or embarrassment over helping a senior with bathing, dressing and toileting. While the consequences of terminal illness may distress family members, a professional will come already equipped to provide both physical and emotional support.

Many professional caregivers work a certain schedule and charge an hourly rate, but live-in caregivers are also available. Live-in caregivers are more affordable than placement in a nursing home, and they provide 24-hour care in the comfort of the senior's own home.

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