Health Watch — Giving Back: Caring for the Caregiver

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about how you can give back and help improve the health and lives of others. When a person is severely or chronically ill, the patient may not be the only one who needs care. The friends, family or other caregivers may need some time and attention, too, as they deal with the physical and emotional stress.

Dr. Elizabeth Paulk, director of the palliative care team at UT Southwestern Medical Center, has some suggestions on helping caregivers. It’s important to do something because just having good intentions doesn’t help. If you offer to do something, follow through. If you don’t know what to say, just being there and being supportive can help. Be specific in your offers to help, or ask what help is needed. Preparing meals for the patient and caregiver is often appreciated.

Ask how the caregiver is doing, and then be prepared to really listen to the answer because the person may need a chance to talk.


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August 2007

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