The Best Ways to Help a Loved One Who Is Going Through Cancer Treatment
Certified Personal Trainer
BA in Human Performance/Exercise Health Science
CPR/First Aid Instructor
When someone you love is going through cancer treatment, it’s difficult to know how best to help them. They may be in physical pain, or there may be stress due to medical bills or thinking about the future. It’s not always easy to help a loved one get through this difficult time in their lives, and it’s important to make sure you remain sensitive to what they’re going through. Everyone reacts differently to a cancer diagnosis, and sometimes, there are symptoms of depression or substance abuse at play as well.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help your loved one feel better. Think about their physical needs; for example, is mobility an issue? If so, it may be difficult for them to perform basic household chores or run errands. They may have blood circulation issues, which can lead to fluctuations in their body temperature. Help your loved one stay comfortable and look for ways you can help with everyday activities.
Keep reading for some great tips on how to get started.
Performing even the most basic of household tasks can be overwhelming for someone who has been going through cancer treatment, which can leave them feeling exhausted. Help out by cooking dinner or by preparing quick snacks or small meals that they can eat throughout the day. This is often a better option, as cancer treatment can cause nausea and loss of appetite.
Create a Place to Relax
Individuals who are undergoing cancer treatment often deal with massive amounts of stress and anxiety due to their physical pain, mental and emotional pain, and worry about what the future will bring. Help them create a place to relax, a quiet spot in their home where they can sit and meditate and allow the world to slide off their shoulders for a moment. This should be in a place that is distraction-free and away from the flow of traffic inside the home, and it should include a comfy chair, blanket, and maybe a candle or two for ambiance. Go here for more tips on how to create the perfect spot to relax.
It’s important to show your loved one that you’re there consciously and listening to their concerns, so make an effort to be present. Engage in conversations, talk about their needs and what they want help with, and consider having a talk about their final wishes. This is a very difficult conversation to initiate, but it’s often an important one to have with someone who is undergoing cancer treatment.
Go to Doctor Appointments
Going to the doctor can be overwhelming for individuals who are going through cancer treatment; there are so many things to think about and remember. Going along with your loved one will help them stay focused on their needs without worrying about what they may be overlooking or forgetting. Write down their questions beforehand and help get them answered. Your support during this difficult time will likely mean the world to your loved one.
Helping your loved one get through cancer treatment can be a big job, so it’s important to remember to take care of yourself at the same time. It can be difficult to see someone you care about in pain or going through a hard time, so you may benefit from having someone to talk about in regards to your feelings. Be gentle with yourself, and don’t be afraid to open up about your emotions with a friend, family member, or counselor.
Jason Lewis is passionate about helping seniors stay healthy and injury-free. He created StrongWell.org to share his tips on senior fitness. In 2002 he became the primary caretaker for his mother after her surgery. From then on, he made it his advocacy to help fellow caregivers in ensuring wellness for seniors.
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