If someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer, you, of course, want to help them as much as you can. However, with a slew of chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, and other treatment schedules, it can be hard to know what you should do. You might be unsure where your help would be most useful or if your help is even really needed. Whenever your loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, here are some things you can do to lend a hand, presented below by The Holistic Glen By Glenna James.
Organize the Effort
It is likely that family and friends want to help. However, if no one is in close communication, help can become scattered and ineffective. For example, it is not useful to have five different people deliver dinner one day but have no one help with the laundry. By communicating and getting organized, you can make sure your help stretches for as long as possible.
Cancer treatment can make your loved one very weak. It takes a lot out of you! It is very common for cancer patients to have difficulty shopping for food and cooking for themselves. This can cause them to eat unhealthy food, which is exactly what they don’t need. Enlist multiple family members and friends to create a meal calendar, with each member taking over food one day a week. To make things easier, you can use a service like the one provided by Meal Train, which can help you keep track of who is taking food over when.
Help with Housework
When you’re sick, the last thing you want to do are chores. However, according to Psychology Today, clutter and unnecessary messes can cause stress. After your loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, the last thing they need added to their plate is a messy house. Taking over some of their household chores can do wonders and allow them to focus on recovering instead of cleaning the house. Try asking another family member to take over one or two tasks each week to spread out the work. If time is an issue, you can try hiring a cleaning agency or seeking help from a non-profit cleaning agency.
Accompany Them to Treatment
For many cancer patients, going to treatments can be a long and grueling process. Often, they must sit in waiting rooms and treatment centers for hours. In some cases, patients may be eligible to participate in clinical trials, which can also be a stressful experience. For many, having someone accompany them to their treatments can provide some much-needed distraction and company. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with what cancer treatment looks like before they go.
Keep Up with Their Medication
With the new added stress of a cancer diagnosis and treatments, many cancer patients can forget to take their medication. Cancer treatment can also make you incredibly fatigued, which might cause them to sleep through their medication window. Learning about their medication dosing and schedule will allow you to help them stay on the right track. It can also help you stay mindful of their painkiller usage and watch out for potential signs of opioid addiction, which include a change in personality and a preoccupation with taking medication, among others.
If your loved one has children, it can be extremely useful to look after them. Children are often confused and scared when a parent undergoes cancer treatment. Even older children can feel neglected and ignored as their mom or dad spends hours at treatment and comes home too fatigued to spend time with them. Offer to watch the children while your loved one is doing cancer treatment. Invite the children over to your house for fun activities and playdates.
Take a Break
We often think of taking vacation as an effective way to relieve workplace stress, but we don’t often think about how helpful a getaway can be when we’re undergoing other trials. As Roswell Park explains, traveling while in cancer treatment is not only doable, but with proper planning, it can be safe and enjoyable.
For best results, plan your getaway around your treatment, and ensure you have any needed medications and equipment available throughout your trip. You might want to aim for a close-by location and select a vacation rental for the sake of both privacy and convenience. Websites like Turnkey allow you to search by whatever amenities you require, such as accessibility and pet-friendliness, and you can make use of a full kitchen to meet any dietary requirements or preferences you have during your stay. The key is to ensure you can be comfortable and well, so you can focus on making memories.
Respect Their Space
While helping your loved one during this time, there are times when they may want to spend some time alone. Some people will let you know outright when they want to be alone, while others aren’t quite so forward. It’s important to learn the nuances of body language; that way, you can pick up on signals your loved one may be sending but you’re not receiving.
A cancer diagnosis can cause lots of fear and confusion. If you want to help but just don’t know how, then start with these simple tips. Most importantly, ask your loved one what they most need help with, and don’t accept “nothing” as an answer.
Write By Julie