When a loved one receives a cancer diagnosis, it can feel as though your whole world has changed. Things that were once a top priority pale in comparison to the need to do anything you can to assist the person you love through this unexpected journey.
If you’re not sure where to even get started in your position as a cancer caregiver, our compassionate care team is here to provide support. Take a deep breath, settle in, and read through the recommendations below.
What is Your Loved One with Cancer Going to Need?
Most of the time, cancer treatments are given in outpatient settings as opposed to during a hospital stay. As a result, transportation to treatments is probably one of the most important aspects of cancer care. In addition, the individual will probably require:
- Assistance with symptom control. Chemo along with other cancer treatments, as well as the cancer itself, can 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 concerns and implementing suggestions, and making light, healthy meals in accordance with his / her tolerance level and preferences.
- Assistance with household chores. Having assistance with housekeeping, laundry, yardwork, food shopping and other errands is quite often a welcome relief for someone fighting cancer.
- A healthcare liaison. Keeping track of all the medical components of cancer care is often overwhelming. Check to see if the person would like you to go with them to doctors’ appointments to take notes, ask questions, relay information back to the medical team, etc.
- A friend to listen. Oftentimes, people tend to shy away from tough conversations. For someone with cancer, having a person there to listen to the difficulties being faced, concerns for the future, and anything else that comes to mind is very important. Your caring, non-judgmental presence might be the most important gift you have to offer.
What Will YOU Need?
Caring for yourself is vital while caring for someone with cancer to relieve stress and avoid caregiver burnout and depression. Make sure to designate ongoing, scheduled times away for pastimes that are enjoyable: reading, taking a walk, soaking in a warm bath, engaging in favorite hobbies, etc.
You’ll also need an outlet for the emotions that arise during caregiving. Find a professional therapist to meet with or a reliable friend, family member, or clergy member to speak with, write in a journal, or join a support group for cancer caregivers.
If you’re having trouble finding time for self-care, Hearts at Home In-Home Care offers reliable senior care in Shawnee and surrounding areas. Our care providers are fully trained and experienced in assisting those with cancer and other chronic illnesses, and are available for as much or as little time as you need to step in while you step away.