When a loved one receives a cancer diagnosis, it may feel as if everything is different. That which was once a high priority pales in comparison to doing whatever you can to help the person you love through this unexpected journey.
If you are not sure where you should even begin in your position as a cancer care provider, our senior care professionals are here to assist. Take a deep breath, settle in with a cup of coffee, and look through the suggestions below.
What Is Your Loved One with Cancer Going to Need?
Most of the time, cancer treatments are given in outpatient settings rather than during a hospital stay. Because of this, transportation to treatments is one of the more important components of cancer care. Furthermore, the individual will probably require:
- Help with symptom management. Chemotherapy along with other cancer treatments, in addition to the cancer itself, may cause exhaustion, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, changes in appetite, pain, and more. You can provide support by ensuring the person stays hydrated, talking with the doctor about any worries and implementing suggestions, and preparing light, healthy meals according to his or her tolerance level and preferences.
- Assistance with household chores. Having help with housekeeping, laundry, yardwork, grocery shopping and other errands is very often a welcome relief for someone fighting cancer.
- A healthcare liaison. Keeping track of all of the medical elements of cancer care is often overwhelming. See if the person would like you to be there for doctors’ appointments to take notes, ask questions, communicate information back to the medical team, etc.
- A friend to listen. Often, people tend to shy away from complicated conversations. For a person with cancer, having someone there to listen to the challenges being faced, concerns for the future, and anything else that comes to mind is essential. Your compassionate, non-judgmental presence could be the biggest gift you have to offer.
What Will YOU Need?
Self-care is very important while caring for someone with cancer to relieve stress and avoid caregiver burnout and depression. Make sure to designate ongoing, scheduled times away for activities that are comforting: reading, taking a walk, soaking in a warm bath, participating in hobbies you enjoy, etc.
You will also need an outlet for any emotions that come up during caregiving. Find a certified therapist to meet with or a reliable friend, family member, or clergy member to talk to, write in a journal, or join a cancer care support group.
If you’re struggling to find time to care for yourself, let Morning Glory Home Care, a provider of home health care in O’Fallon, IL and surrounding areas, help. Our care providers are fully trained and experienced in supporting those with cancer as well as other chronic health conditions, and are available for as much or as little time as you need to step in while you step away.