When someone you love receives a cancer diagnosis, it can feel as though the world has turned upside down. That which was once a top concern pales when compared with the need to do anything you can to assist the person you love through this unforeseen journey.
If you’re unsure where to even begin in your role as a cancer caregiver, our in-home care team is here to assist. Take a deep breath, settle in with a cup of tea, and read through the suggestions below.
What Will Your Loved One with Cancer Need?
Quite often, cancer treatments are delivered in outpatient settings as opposed to a hospital stay. As a result, a way to get to treatments is a very important aspect of cancer care. In addition, the individual will probably need:
- Assistance with symptom management. Chemo and other cancer treatments, along with the cancer itself, can cause nausea and vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, exhaustion, changes in appetite, pain, and more. You can provide support by making certain the person is hydrated, talking with the doctor about any concerns and implementing recommendations, and preparing light, healthy meals based on his or her tolerance level and tastes.
- Assistance with household chores. Having help with housekeeping, laundry, yardwork, grocery shopping and other errands is quite often a great relief for someone battling cancer.
- A healthcare liaison. Keeping on top of all of the medical components of cancer care is often complicated. Ask if the person would like you to go with them to doctors’ appointments to take notes, ask questions, communicate information back to the medical team, etc.
- A person to listen. Oftentimes, people have a tendency to shy away from tough conversations. For somebody with cancer, having someone there to listen to the difficulties being faced, fears for the future, and whatever else that comes to mind is important. Your compassionate, non-judgmental presence could possibly be the most important gift you have to offer.
What Will YOU Need?
Taking care of yourself is very important while caring for someone with cancer to ease stress and prevent depression and caregiver burnout. Be sure to designate ongoing, scheduled times away for activities that are enjoyable: reading, going on a walk, soaking in a warm bath, engaging in hobbies you like, etc.
You’ll also need an outlet for any emotions that arise during caregiving. Find a certified counselor to meet with or a dependable friend, family member, or clergy member to speak with, write in a journal, or join a support group for cancer caregivers.
If you are struggling to find time and energy to care for yourself, let Compassionate Nursing Services’ experts in St. Louis home health care help. We provide home care services in St. Louis and the surrounding area and our caregivers are fully trained and experienced in caring for people with cancer as well as other chronic health issues, and are available for as much or as little time as you need to step in while you step away.