What are the challenges and problems faced by a caregiver of a fibromyalgia patient?
Fibromyalgia, a common neurological problem causes widespread pain and sensitivity in the body. The tenderness and pain may come and with chronic illness and sleep issues.
Living with fibromyalgia or with someone suffering from this disease can be a stressful experience. The family members of patients may have to take extra responsibilities which can be demanding. Following are some common problems faced by family members of people with fibromyalgia:
- Financial crisis
- Loss of companionship
- Reduced need to socialize
- Uncertainty about future
- Sexual difficulties
- Feeling resentful at times
Fibromyalgia Care and Support
Chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia affect millions of people around the globe. This leaves them dependent on other people and family members for care and support. Patients often get over-whelmed at doctor’s office. The doctor may or may not help in this situation.
Usually, parents, children and spouses provide a shoulder to lean on and deal with all the requirements of the patient. Nevertheless, sometimes, family members and children are not able to take care of the patient due to many reasons. That is the time when a person who can care and support is most needed.
According to a survey, about 25% of adults suffering from chronic illness are provided with care and support by National Family Caregivers Association. Not only women provide care to the diseased people but also men are involved almost equally with them.
In a study, researchers found that about 44% of people involved in caregiving jobs are males. Health agencies help with household responsibilities and even take the patient to the doctor.
What is the role of caregiver of a fibromyalgia patient?
The role of caregiver is definitely very challenging. Following are some tasks that they have to perform:
- The caregiver gives all the love, care and support to the person suffering from fibromyalgia. They assist the person in their day-to-day activities and coordinate with them.
- Another important role of caregiver is to provide the family and patient all the information related to the disease.
- He/she might have to re-structure the information according to the ability of the person to understand the issue.
- Caregivers also work as a medium between patient and the rest of the world.
- In addition to caregivers, support groups are also available these days to share the problem and sought out all the possible solutions for it.
- People suffering from fibromyalgia and their family members are often invited to these groups to discuss their issues.
- Some support groups also provide book and papers related to the disease to help gather all the information. Books are even delivered to your doorstep.
How to handle pressure and stress of the patient if you are a caregiver?
In response to pressure created by chronic and serious illness, following are some steps that can be beneficial:
- Maintain Health
- Take help
- Reduce stress
- Educate yourself and family members
- Create new activities
- Seek help from other caregivers
This is the first recommendation to a caregiver by the experts. Give the patient adequate time to rest and exercise well along with healthy food. According to a survey, people reported that they feel better by avoiding certain foods. However, no specific diet influences fibromyalgia. It is important to have a healthy diet regime as it gives energy and makes you feel better.
Often people offer help when they see someone in pain or distress. Take help from them. They can suggest few tips and specific points that you might not know. The symptoms of fibromyalgia get worse with emotional and mental stress.
The flare-ups are common in people who are constantly under stress. Eliminating the source of stress will help the patient in a way. Fibromyalgia patients must learn to cope-up techniques for minimizing the stress on mind and body. The caregiver can help them with following to reduce stress:
- Deep breathing technique
Educate yourself and family members
Search for information as you can about the disease. There are strategies that can ease the pain and symptoms of the patient. Look for websites, organizations and books that can help.
Create new activities
The chronic and serious illness may make a person unable to spend time with his/her family members. The caregiver can create activities that can help a person spend some time with family.
Activities like watching movies together in the home, going for a meal and sharing day-to-day experiences can be of help in strengthening the relationship.
Seek support from other caregivers
Other caregivers can also help in your job. They can provide you with strength and support. You can take ideas and inspirations that can be applied to your patient.