A Lifeboat For the Caregiver
BY SUSAN LaHOUD SUN CHRONICLE STAFF
Sturdy Program offers advice and support for those nursing a loved one through cancer
Karen Messier often sees couples struggling – the frustration of one person as a caregiver trying to help the other who has cancer.
The conflicts can arise over almost anything: Trying to get the person suffering from the disease to eat, even though they have no appetite, or making sure they get to myriad doctor’s appointments, or sometimes simply over not knowing what to do next.
“Cancer is very much a family disease,” said Messier, oncology program and clinical manager at Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro. It affects the entire family.
“Sometimes it can be pretty overwhelming,” she said.
In an effort to ease the burden on families, Sturdy offers a free support program for partners and caregivers of patients with cancer. The group meets the second Wednesday of every month. Messier wants to get the word out that there is a place for people in those predicaments to turn.
Meal planning alone, is a huge problem, she said.
“The caregiver may provide anything their loved one wants to eat, go through the process of making it and then have them say ‘I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want it’,” Messier said of one situation that often comes up for caregivers of cancer patients, including those with breast cancer.
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