A mesothelioma diagnosis takes many families by surprise. Being a mesothelioma caregiver is an unexpected full-time job that can be physically and emotionally draining. Additionally, the cost of care can lead to financial devastation. Victims and their families may be entitled to critical funds needed to properly care for their loved ones.
Help for Mesothelioma Caregivers
Whether your spouse, family member, or friend was recently diagnosed with mesothelioma, caring for a mesothelioma patient can be overwhelming — physically, emotionally, and financially.
If someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, compensation may be available to help cover their medical expenses and in-home care, which can be very expensive. In addition, money awarded could also help with the lost income the family may be facing due to the loved one’s illness.
It’s hard to believe that companies knew about the dangers of asbestos and still chose to put people at risk — but that’s exactly what happened.
As a result, an estimated $30 Billion in court-ordered trust money has been set aside by the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products for mesothelioma victims and their families.
By assisting your loved one in pursuing a mesothelioma settlement, you may be able to help lessen the financial burden of the victim’s family during this difficult time, allowing you to focus on spending time with your loved one and ensuring they are as comfortable as possible.
Sokolove Law is here to help — contact us today to learn more about seeking mesothelioma compensation for your loved one.
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What Does a Mesothelioma Caregiver Do?
Mesothelioma caregivers play a central role in a patient’s journey.
Being a mesothelioma caregiver is a job most people feel unprepared to handle. It is often unexpected and comes with a unique set of challenges for everyone.
Mesothelioma caregivers have their own lives to attend to, which very likely includes family and work.
Despite this, they must learn to adapt to wearing many new hats and meeting the demands of their additional responsibilities.
These responsibilities may include:
- Acting as a medical advocate
- Taking care of physical needs
- Providing emotional support
- Managing household activities
- Becoming the breadwinner for income and insurance
While these may seem straightforward, many mesothelioma caregivers underestimate exactly what this all entails.
Unlike some cancers, mesothelioma is an aggressive one with no cure. This usually means that the prognosis is poor, and patients become increasingly dependent on mesothelioma caregivers.
As the illness advances, being a mesothelioma caregiver may entail:
- Managing medications, including monitoring side effects
- Administering IV treatments
- Helping the patient use respirators, oxygen tanks, wheelchairs, and walkers
- Making decisions on whether treatments are helping
- Keeping family and friends updated on the patient’s status
- Helping the patient eat
- Bathing, grooming, and dressing the patient
- Helping the patient use the bathroom
- Gathering documentation, such as important contact information, health history, banking, wills, and power of attorney
- Planning for financial, health insurance, and end-of-life arrangements
Mesothelioma Caregiving Roles
Because caregiving can be a fulltime job, receiving mesothelioma caregivers support is essential.
It is important for mesothelioma caregivers to develop a network of helpers. Being proactive in finding people to help and assigning roles works much better than trying to find help in emergencies.
Developing a care team early-on is the best defense mesothelioma caregivers can take to provide quality of life for both the patient and for themselves.
Some tips to putting mesothelioma caregivers support teams into place include:
- Making a list of family, friends, and neighbors who you think would be willing to help
- Explaining to each person what kind of help you may need both now and in the future
- Assigning responsibilities to each person who is willing to help
- Saying thank you — people who feel appreciated are more likely to help again
Ultimately, the contributions of family and friends can lessen stress and feelings of being overwhelmed.
It is common for spouses to be primary mesothelioma caregivers.
In addition to handling the bulk of the work, primary caregivers are usually the people who share information on the patient’s condition.
This can feel especially taxing on already drained spouses who don’t have the energy to repeat the same updates to family and friends on-demand.
Some tips to make this more efficient include:
- Taking detailed notes at doctor’s visits that can be edited and shared as appropriate
- Creating separate email groups of those you’d like to update with varying levels of detail
- Holding family meetings
Being a mesothelioma caregiver often falls, at least partially, on adult children.
While this can be rewarding, it can be especially painful for adult children to see a parent’s health deteriorate.
Many patients feel their adult children can be good mesothelioma caregivers by offering little more than their time.
Adult children can volunteer their time by:
- Visiting and calling regularly
- Helping around the house
- Driving the patient to medical appointments
Mesothelioma caregivers may include the siblings of the patient.
While it can be difficult for siblings to find time — as they likely have their own families, jobs, and obligations to handle — it often benefits the mesothelioma patient to be around those they grew up with.
Childhood memories can be a great source of comfort that only siblings would be able to talk about.
Friends may not understand that they can also be valuable mesothelioma caregivers, and they may not know how they can offer help.
A place to start is by staying in regular communication with your friend. It may also be appropriate to reach out to the primary caregiver to offer help, even if you are not asked.
Veterans They Served With
Sadly, veterans are at increased risk of developing mesothelioma due to widespread asbestos use in all branches of the military.
The camaraderie felt amongst those who served together in the Armed Forces has been known to create lifetime bonds.
Being a mesothelioma caregiver can mean something as simple as reconnecting with someone you served with. The uniqueness of the bond can be a tremendous source of support for mesothelioma patients.
Community organizations, including a church group, may be additional sources of mesothelioma caregivers support.
The American Cancer Society has many resources on their website to locate community support for patients and mesothelioma caregivers alike.
Resources for Mesothelioma Caregivers
There are many resources that provide mesothelioma caregivers support.
Mesothelioma caregivers should become educated on the condition to better plan for the future. When locating educational resources, it is important to be sure the information you are getting is accurate.
Reliable educational materials are available online from such organizations as:
- National Cancer Institute
- Mayo Clinic
- American Cancer Society
Being a mesothelioma caregiver is physically and emotionally taxing, which makes self-care critical.
Mesothelioma caregivers must put their own health and safety first to ensure they can continue to care for their loved ones.
Some ways to take care of yourself include:
- Finding at least 15-30 minutes per day to do something for yourself
- Maintaining your personal life
- Keeping a regular routine
- Asking for help
It is also important for mesothelioma patients and caregivers to acknowledge and work to understand the varying feelings they may be experiencing during this unfamiliar and turbulent time.
High-quality mesothelioma treatment can extend a patient’s life for months and even years, but it can be extremely expensive, often costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in the first year.
Since mesothelioma is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos, victims and their families may be legally entitled to money to help pay for care.
There are different types of mesothelioma compensation available for eligible victims and their loved ones. To avoid financial disaster, you should locate possible funds without delay.
The type of claim filed will differ for each individual victim and may include:
- Asbestos trust funds
- Mesothelioma settlements
- Mesothelioma trial verdict compensation
- U.S. veterans’ VA benefits
The process of seeking compensation can feel overwhelming for mesothelioma caregivers, who are typically focused only on the quality of life of their loved ones.
Our network of attorneys will help you identify every compensation option available, ensuring you receive money as quickly as possible.
Here’s what sets Sokolove Law apart from other firms:
- Over 40 years of success in handling personal injury claims
- One of the first nationwide firms, with licensed attorneys in almost every state
- Access to thousands of resources
- Over $4.7 Billion secured for mesothelioma victims and their families
Our team of Case Managers is available 24/7 to answer your questions and help you get the assistance you deserve.
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Tips for Mesothelioma Caregivers
Being a mesothelioma caregiver can be emotionally and physically draining. Caregiver burnout is common when caregivers put their own needs aside to focus on the needs of their loved one.
Mesothelioma caregivers who experience burnout may suffer from:
- Anxiety or depression
- Problems sleeping
- Social withdrawal
However, with proper support, taking care of a loved one can be incredibly rewarding. Many mesothelioma caregivers find strength, compassion, and courage along the way.
Below, learn more about our top tips for mesothelioma caregivers.
Take Time Off When Possible
Mesothelioma caregivers may feel as though life is always about the illness. You may unintentionally focus on nothing else.
You may also feel guilty about needing some time for yourself, not realizing that your loved one may want the same thing.
Even if it is only for a few minutes per day, try doing some things for yourself, such as:
- Calling a friend
- Taking a walk
- Watching a movie
- Reading a book
- Listening to music
Reach Out For Help
Mesothelioma caregivers may feel they are the only ones who can do the job. However, the American Cancer Society warns, “caregiving alone for any period of time is not realistic.”
Sharing the responsibility is not only acceptable, but it is also advisable. When people offer to help, take it. If you are not receiving the help you need, take the time to actively seek it out.
Help may be available from places such as:
- A hospital social worker
- The National Alliance of Caregiving
- National Family Caregivers Association
Find a Support Group
While there is no single type of support group mesothelioma caregivers may feel comfortable participating in, with some research, most people can find a group that is right for them.
Some mesothelioma caregivers support group options include:
- Phone groups that “meet” by a scheduled conference call
- Online/Facebook groups that communicate by chat
- Professional support from a therapist (doctors can often give referrals)
Don’t Forget to Care for Yourself
Caring for yourself is the first step mesothelioma caregivers should take. Staying physically and emotionally well is critical as you embark on your loved one’s journey with them.
While how to care for yourself is an individual preference, some tips are:
- Educate yourself on mesothelioma so you know what to expect
- Find a medical team you trust
- Stay organized by keeping files, schedules, and lists to manage your time
- Accept your bad days and your loved one’s bad days
- Monitor your own health as well as your loved one’s health
- Keep a journal
- Know your limitations
- Accept help
- Stay connected with others
All in all, it is important for mesothelioma caregivers to go easy on themselves when they make mistakes. Caregivers should understand that it’s okay to grieve their losses, knowing it is normal to miss the life they had with their loved one before the mesothelioma diagnosis.
Contact Sokolove Law for Caregivers Support
For more than 40 years, Sokolove Law has helped mesothelioma victims and their families secure billions of dollars in compensation for their physical suffering and financial hardship.
Our mesothelioma lawyers may be able to help, although recovery results and amounts, if any, vary per client and are based on the specific facts of the case.
Contact Sokolove Law to learn more about legal options and how you may be able to help your loved one with mesothelioma.