When someone you love gets a cancer diagnosis, it can feel as if your whole world has changed. What was once a major concern pales in comparison to helping the person you love through this unanticipated journey.
If you are uncertain 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 your favorite beverage, and read through the recommendations below.
What Is Your Loved One with Cancer Going to Need?
More often than not, cancer treatments are delivered in outpatient settings rather than during a hospital stay. Because of this, transportation to treatments is one of the most important facets of caring for cancer at home. Additionally, the person will probably require:
- Assistance with symptom control. Chemotherapy and other cancer treatments, in addition to the cancer itself, can cause exhaustion, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, changes in appetite, pain, and more. You can help by making sure the person is hydrated, communicating with the doctor about any problems and implementing recommendations, and making light, healthy meals in accordance with his or her tolerance level and preferences.
- Help with household chores. Having assistance with housekeeping, laundry, yardwork, food shopping and other errands is very often a great relief for someone battling cancer.
- A healthcare liaison. Keeping track of all of the medical elements of cancer care is often complicated. 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. Sometimes, people tend to shy away from tough conversations. For someone with cancer, having a friend there to listen to the difficulties being faced, concerns for the future, and whatever else comes to mind is very important. Your caring, non-judgmental presence could be the most significant gift you have to offer.
What Will YOU Need?
Caring for yourself is vitally important while taking care of someone with cancer to ease stress and avoid caregiver burnout and depression. Make sure to designate ongoing, scheduled times away for activities that are relaxing: reading, going on a walk, soaking in a warm bath, participating in hobbies you like, etc.
You will also need an outlet for any emotions that come up during caregiving. Find a skilled therapist to meet with or a dependable friend, family member, or clergy member to talk to, write in a journal, or join a cancer care support group.
If you’re having trouble finding time to look after yourself, let Live Free Home Health Care, a provider of professional Concord home care, help. Our care professionals are fully trained and experienced in caring for those 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. Visit our Service Area page for a full list of the communities we serve.