Being given a cancer diagnosis is life-altering, and making sure you have a community of support is critical. When someone you love is undergoing treatment for cancer, you might feel unsure how to best help the person without overstepping boundaries or making them feel discomfort for any reason. What should you do to best help a loved one with cancer? Our aging care experts have some recommendations to get you started.
- Learn as much as you can. Educate yourself on the kind of cancer the person has been diagnosed with to better comprehend what they are going through. Search online for trusted sources like Johns Hopkins or the Mayo Clinic.
- Be there. Simply being present to listen, talk, and even laugh with the person when appropriate can be helpful to someone who wants to live life as normally as possible, even with their diagnosis.
- Inquire to find out precisely what they need. Oftentimes, a person with cancer or any other chronic condition will hear from well-meaning family and friends, “Let me know if you need anything!” It’s then up to the person struggling with their diagnosis to determine what’s needed, and to follow up with those who offered with ways to help. You can be proactive and find out just what will most help the person. On one day, they may want help with doing dishes, vacuuming, and laundry, while another day they may really benefit from some healthy meals prepared or just someone to talk to for a welcome distraction.
- Offer appropriate meals. Cancer treatments like chemo and radiation can lead to exhaustion, so preparing meals can be difficult. These kinds of treatments can also affect how food tastes. Ask the person what types of foods might be appetizing, and then make meals for them accordingly. Understand that it may take some trial and error to find what is most palatable.
- Be an advocate. Help the person organize any questions and concerns in advance of their next doctor’s appointment. If they wish, attend the appointment with them and help make sure each issue is addressed.
As the leading provider of home care in San Diego, La Jolla, North County, and the surrounding areas, San Diego Home Caregivers is here to help those with cancer live more comfortable lives at home. Reach out to us for more information and resources, or to request a free in-home meeting to learn more about how we can help.