When someone you love receives a cancer diagnosis, it may feel as if the world has stopped turning. Things that were once a high priority pale when compared with the call to do whatever you can to provide support for the person you love through this unanticipated experience.
If you are unsure where you should even begin in your role as a cancer caregiver, our in-home care experts are here to assist. Take a deep breath, settle back with a cup of coffee, and read through the recommendations below.
What Will Your Loved One with Cancer Need?
Most of the time, cancer treatments are provided in outpatient settings rather than during a hospitalization. Because of this, transportation to and from appointments is a very important part of cancer care. In addition, the person will likely need:
- Assistance with symptom control. Chemotherapy and other cancer treatments, as well as the cancer itself, can cause nausea and vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, exhaustion, alterations in appetite, pain, and more. You can provide support by making sure the person stays hydrated, talking with the doctor about any concerns and implementing recommendations, and preparing light, healthy meals in accordance with his or her tolerance level and tastes.
- Assistance with household chores. Having help with housekeeping, laundry, yardwork, grocery shopping and other errands is often a welcome relief for someone battling cancer.
- A healthcare liaison. Keeping on top of all of the medical facets of cancer care can be daunting. See if the person would like you to sit in on doctors’ appointments to take notes, ask questions, communicate information back to the medical team, etc.
- A friend to listen. Often, people have a tendency to shy away from hard conversations. For someone with cancer, having someone there to listen to the challenges being faced, concerns for the future, and whatever else that comes to mind is very important. Your compassionate, non-judgmental presence might be the biggest gift you have to offer.
What Will YOU Need?
Taking care of yourself is crucial while caring for someone with cancer to alleviate stress and avoid caregiver burnout and depression. Make sure to designate ongoing, scheduled times away for interests that are comforting: reading, going for a walk, soaking in a warm bath, engaging in hobbies you love, etc.
You’ll likewise require an outlet for any emotions that come up during caregiving. Find a skilled 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 are having trouble finding time to care for yourself, let At-Home Care Company, providers of home health services in Des Moines, IL and nearby communities, help. Our senior care experts are fully trained and experienced in supporting individuals with cancer and other chronic health conditions, and are available for as much or as little time as you need to step in while you step away.