Caregiving with Love: Five Tips to Better Healing
Caregiver must become dependable all-around partner; these five tips can relax patient as they heal - know the train has a
By Guy Magar, Hollywood Director
June 22, 2012 - Whether it’s your wife or husband or child, or a relative or close friend you are caring for, it is paramount that you
become the best caregiver possible for your loved one. As a caregiver for my wife Jacqui during her brave journey to beat
AML (acute myeloid leukemia), here
is what I learned and can share as I honor and applaud caregivers everywhere.
1. Be the trusted advocate.
No matter the illness, the medical journey to heal is lengthy and complicated especially if the battleground is cancer.
It is important to make sure that you - the caregiver - understands the treatment that your doctor has initiated, no matter how complex, and
that all questions have been answered including the many what ifs and whens.
If you need to research various options or get second opinions, make it happen. If you need a clinical trial, find it. If
the patient is overwhelmed or can’t focus, they must feel and know the caregiver is the responsible advocate and is knowledgeable of the best
possible medical journey. If they do, they will feel protected and loved, and thus empowered to just focus on their part: the healing.
2. Become the cocoon around your loved one.
Every day I’d get into Jacqui’s bed and we’d hug tightly as she’d wrap herself around me while we chatted or napped. I
always made sure she felt totally surrounded, completely cocooned, by my love, my strength, and my positive attitude.
As a caregiver, you have to supply that grounding, that safety net. No matter how bad or creepy or doubtful a patient may
feel, you have to provide an unconditional, unbending, concrete tower of absolute certainty about positive progress, as well as an ocean of
love that will not allow anything to happen but the very, very best that can be.
As caregiver, you must be the unmovable rock of strength and security. A granite-strong cocoon!
3. Don’t just be present, be a partner.
You work as a team, in partnership with the patient; to be there and support them with any and all treatments from MRIs
to IV line cleanings. Whether double-checking with the nurses the drugs they’re hooking up, making sure the bed is made or freshened while the
patient is in the shower or bathroom, scheduling the physical therapists to keep your partner active and limber, dealing with the three meals
and snack orders, you are there to deal with the many details that make up daily hospital life.
An unspoken team partnership is crucial for caregivers to bring to the table and for patients to rely on. It was my
commitment to make sure Jacqui felt her partner was engaged with the journey 24/7. She knew it, she felt it, she counted on it.
4. Keep them active and involved.
Sometimes it’s just being there to open the shades and point out how beautiful the sunrise is that morning. Sometimes
it’s sharing an important front-page story in the news, or breaking out a favorite game like yahtzee to encourage their competitive spirit to
win. Sometimes it’s playing a CD of oldies but goodies and getting up to do some crazy dance steps to get a laugh or better still to get them
to dance even if it means they’re standing on your feet because they are too weak to stand on their own.
When you’re ill, the world feels like it’s closing in on you. It’s important for the caregiver to keep enlarging the
boundaries and keep the patient involved with the outside world. Jacqui, who worked in women’s retail and was not familiar with daytime TV,
really enjoyed watching Ellen when I started putting it on as she saw women celebrating life…laughing
and dancing every day. The will to live and being active with the outside world is crucial therapy.
5. Arrange for small doses of one on one time with special friends and family.
Your loved one values friendships, and some concentrated time with a dear friend or family member can be restorative.
Have a special friend come over for ten minutes to an hour (depending on how your loved one is feeling that day) and occupy yourself with a
task nearby. This way you can be summoned easily if needed, but they still have some privacy and a small sense of normalcy.
And, if you need to regroup, grab a coffee with a friend or get on the phone with a college buddy. Do whatever it takes
to remain strong, clear-minded, and balanced. Your own good mental outlook is crucial to your partner.
The caregiver must become the dependable all-around partner for the patient, and if you can do that effectively and
incorporate these five tips, he or she can relax as they heal and know the train has a co-driver and all is well with the arduous journey.
The more you take on your shoulders, the less remains on the patient’s. Needless to say, this includes everything else
going on with your home, financial concerns such as paying monthly bills, and keeping family and friends informed.
I was busy, as all caregivers are. And every single day, I am deeply grateful for Jacqui’s healing.
About Guy Magar
TV and film director/writer/producer Guy Magar has worked for more than 30 years in the motion
picture industry. His credits include Battlestar Galactica, The A-Team,
La Femme Nikita and Children of the Corn: Revelation.
Guy is the author of Kiss Me Quick
Before I Shoot: A Filmmaker’s Journey into the Lights of Hollywood and True Love (www.kissmequickbeforeishoot.com).
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