When someone you love receives a cancer diagnosis, it may feel as if the world has turned upside down. What was once a high priority in your life pales when compared with the need to do whatever you can to assist the individual you love through this unanticipated journey.
If you’re not sure where you should even begin in your position as a cancer care provider, our in-home care professionals are here to assist. Take a deep breath, settle in with a cup of tea, and read through the tips below.
What Will the Person with Cancer Need?
In most cases, cancer treatments are provided in outpatient settings rather than during a hospital stay. As a result, a way to get to and from treatments is one of the most important aspects of cancer care. Furthermore, the individual will likely require:
- Assistance with symptom control. Chemotherapy and other cancer treatments, in addition to the cancer itself, can cause nausea and vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, exhaustion, alterations in appetite, pain, and more. You can help by making sure the person remains hydrated, communicating with the doctor about any problems and implementing suggestions, and preparing light, healthy meals in accordance with his / her tolerance level and tastes.
- Assistance with household chores. Having help with housekeeping, laundry, yardwork, trips to get groceries, and other errands is very often a great relief for someone fighting cancer.
- A healthcare liaison. Keeping tabs on all of the medical components of cancer care is often complicated. Check to see if the person would like you to sit in on doctors’ appointments to take notes, ask questions, relay information back to the medical team, etc.
- A friend to listen. Often, people tend to shy away from tough conversations. For someone with cancer, having a caring person there to listen to the challenges being faced, fears for the future, and whatever else that comes to mind is important. Your compassionate, non-judgmental presence could possibly be the biggest gift you have to offer.
What Will YOU Need?
Caring for yourself is crucial while caring for someone with cancer to alleviate stress and prevent caregiver burnout and depression. Be sure to designate ongoing, scheduled times away for activities that are enjoyable: reading, taking a walk, soaking in a warm bath, engaging in hobbies you love, etc.
You will also need an outlet for the emotions that emerge during caregiving. Find a certified counselor 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 and energy to care for yourself and could use some help at home, contact Inspired Home Care, a provider of home care in Arlington Heights and the surrounding areas. Our caregivers 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.