Caregiver Tips (Part 3)

If you missed it, check out Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.

Being a caregiver takes many forms. Sometimes it involves being there for the person you care about, but what if that’s not possible. There are other ways you can show your support. Part 3 of this series is more about what you can do if you can’t be there. We don’t all have the time to give, but we want to be able to add care and comfort whenever possible. Below are some tips for you to show you care even if you can’t be there, or be there as often as you like.

Offer a chemo bag

During Crystal’s treatments, she found out about chemo bags and she put some together to donate. They had magnetic bracelets, journals, activity books, lotion, chapstick, a blanket, warm socks, a hat, colored pencils, and a planner, and a pen. It was a nice gift and the people she sent them to were so appreciative.

Find out what your loved one could use and put together a special chemo bag just for them. One extra thing you could include is a phone charger. We frequently forgot ours. This is a gift that is necessary and will be greatly appreciated.

Ask before you buy

When we find out someone we know has cancer, we want to pitch in and help. The problem is, sometimes the things your loved one used to enjoy may make them sick now. Chemo and other treatments can wreak havoc on their sense of smell or their stomach.

Before you buy anything food-related or that has a smell or funny texture, ask if it would be alright. It would be a shame to have all of your hard work wasted. It will make them feel bad to not be able to enjoy your thoughtful gift and it may hurt your feelings unintentionally. Flowers are something else to think about. Right now may not be the time for flowers. For now, no surprises.

Gift cards are great

So often we have no clue what we can do to help. Gift cards are often the answer. It could be a card for something necessary like food or a fun card to the hairdresser, or to get a massage. You could even make it unusual like a reiki experience or a salt cave. You know your loved one. If you’re not sure, ask what they could use. If you can’t give the gift of your time, give the gift of your money with a gift card. It will brighten up their day.

Sadness happens

When someone is sick, they will get sad. They may even get mad. This will be hard to listen to, but try. Their whole life has been changed and they are not able to do all the things they were able to before. Sometimes it just has to come out. Let them vent. They need to. Try to leave the conversation on a positive note. Hopefully, your next visit will be better.

If you can’t visit, buy them a journal. Writing their feelings is a way for them to get it off their mind and out of their system. Sometimes they may feel as though they can’t share their feelings. Writing them may help. Writing is a way to vent without saying it out loud. Be sure to add a nice pen. Everyone loves to write with a new pen!

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