Hearing the words “I have cancer” from a close friend or family member can take our breath away. It’s hard to know how to respond, and often we’re afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing – sadly, often resulting in distancing ourselves from the person with cancer because of our own discomfort.
Of course, what someone with cancer needs more than anything is a strong network of support. Hearts at Home In-Home Care of Kansas City offers the following helpful tips to ease the difficulties surrounding caring for those with cancer, allowing you to feel more confidence, less trepidation, and to develop a stronger bond with your loved one.
Allow Yourself Time to Adjust
A cancer diagnosis can be life-altering, and while it goes without saying that the person being diagnosed needs time to process this news, his or her loved ones also require ample time to prepare and strengthen themselves to be able to provide the best level of support. First and foremost, educating yourself as much as possible about the person’s particular type of cancer is extremely helpful in understanding what he or she will be facing in the days ahead, such as treatment plans, side effects, and changes in appearance and mood. Then, try to place yourself in the person’s shoes. You may not have ever been diagnosed with cancer, but thinking back on a time when you were ill, injured, or frightened can help you determine what might have brought you the most comfort.
Determining what to say to a loved one during this time can be one of the most difficult roles for friends and family members. Remember that it’s perfectly acceptable to tell the person you’re at a loss for words, and sometimes your presence is more than enough. Letting the person know you care and that you’re available to listen and provide help in whatever way is needed is a great place to start, and let your loved one describe what he or she needs from there.
How to Help
Beyond serving as a caring presence for your loved one with cancer, try making specific suggestions of tasks you’d like to help with if needed, such as picking up groceries, helping with housework, preparing meals, or offering transportation to treatments and other medical appointments.
Providing the assistance of a professional in-home caregiver, such as those at Hearts at Home In-Home Care, is a great solution as well, allowing your loved one time to rest and spend quality time with loved ones, while remaining safe and well cared for at home. Offering a full range of experienced in-home care services for individuals battling cancer, we’re available for as much or as little help is needed. Contact us at 913-440-4209 to learn more.