Caregiving journey: a lifetime opportunity

Caregiving journey: a lifetime opportunity

This day, 24 years ago, I lost my grandmother to cancer. The end was sudden, just three months after diagnosis. Her oncologist had told us to take her home and fulfil her last wishes. She was at home till the end. My aunt was the primary caregiver. I would just try to help, with whatever little knowledge I had as a “doctor”. It did not take me long to realise the limitations of medical science when it came to end-of-life care. Much later, I also realised that as doctors we had to learn more. We need to learn communication skills. We need to understand death and identify the dying process. We need to learn how to make relatives aware about the reality, and then support them through their tough times. Further training in palliative medicine made me realise that death is NOT a medical event but a social event. Everyone needs to learn about and accept death as a natural consequence of living. Family caregivers are an invaluable resource when it comes to caring for someone at home. Their love and compassion makes a difficult journey more tolerable for patients. Caregiving is not an easy task, especially when you are not ready and trained to look after someone who is seriously ill. The caregivers themselves go through an emotional turmoil. At Simpatico, we truly appreciate the value of these silent heroes, who work continuously to honour the lives and ease the pain of their loved ones. Please see these videos about the emotional journey of a caregiver: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oso68Xmzoi8 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFUCe7OBDmo&index=2&list=PL2B6313A50C63F00B Dr Priyadarshini Kulkarni