Caring for the eczema caregiver
We know how difficult it can be to watch someone you love suffering in their own skin. Eczema can be complex and misunderstood, and sadly caregivers often experience feelings of guilt, frustration, and helplessness as a result of caring for someone with eczema.
ESC has developed Caring for the Eczema Caregiver, a new resource which provides guidance on how to take time for yourself and cope with the challenges and obstacles that can come with eczema management. In addition to feeling overwhelmed, parents can also experience feelings of guilt and anxiety. Lack of sleep, financial stress, watching their child suffer, and complex skin care regimens can take a toll on caregivers and the whole family.
A father of a teen with severe atopic dermatitis (the most common form of eczema) tells ESC: “Eczema is exhausting for the whole family. We want to throw in the towel, but we can’t because can mean hospitalization. This is our life, and people don’t understand. They think our child just has some dry itchy skin. People don’t see what’s carefully hidden by all of us.”
Caregivers are not only parents of those caring for children, partners and spouses can also be impacted.
When Shano first met his wife Tanya, he clearly remembers the moment he realized the intensity of her eczema. “I was familiar with the condition, but I didn’t appreciate the full extent of it until I met Tanya. One night, she had fallen asleep on the couch and I witnessed her furiously and feverishly scratching herself. I was shocked and concerned that she was going to actually hurt herself. I felt helpless.”
Caring for the Eczema Caregiver was developed with support from registered psychologist Dr. Shawn Reynolds and dermatologist Dr. Michele Ramien to help Canadians who care for someone with eczema.
Shano adds: “It is one thing to hear about eczema, but it was another to witness it first-hand. This is something people with live with – and suffer from – every day. The best we can offer is understanding, love, and compassion, and to be as supportive as possible. But it can be hard on the caregiver too.”