When someone you love receives a cancer diagnosis, it may feel as though your whole world has changed. Things that were once a top priority pale when compared with the call to do whatever you can to provide support for the person you love through this unanticipated process.
If you are not sure where you should even start in your role as a cancer caregiver, our senior care team is here to assist. Take a deep breath, settle in with a cup of tea, and read through the tips below.
What Is Your Loved One with Cancer Going to Need?
Quite often, cancer treatments are delivered in outpatient settings rather than during a hospital stay. Because of this, a way to get to and from treatments is one of the more important components of cancer care. Furthermore, the individual will likely require:
- Help with symptom control. Chemotherapy and other cancer treatments, as well as the cancer itself, may cause nausea and vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, exhaustion, changes in appetite, pain, and more. You can provide support by ensuring the person is hydrated, communicating with the physician about any worries and implementing recommendations, and cooking light, healthy meals according to his / her tolerance level and preferences.
- Help with household chores. Having help with housekeeping, laundry, yardwork, trips to the market as well as other errands is quite often a welcome relief for a person with cancer.
- A healthcare liaison. Keeping track of all the medical aspects of cancer care can be daunting. 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.
- Someone to listen. Many times, people have a tendency to shy away from difficult conversations. For a person with cancer, having someone there to listen to the challenges being faced, fears for the future, and anything else that comes to mind is very important. Your friendly, non-judgmental presence could possibly be the biggest gift you have to offer.
What Will YOU Need?
Taking care of yourself is vital while caring for someone with cancer to alleviate stress and avoid depression and caregiver burnout. Make sure to designate ongoing, scheduled times away for activities that are comforting: reading, going on a walk, soaking in a warm bath, participating in hobbies you like, etc.
You’ll also require an outlet for the emotions that emerge during caregiving. Find a skilled counselor 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 for self-care, let Grace Home Care’s Topeka caregivers help. Our care providers are fully trained and experienced in taking care of individuals 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.