5 Tips To Help When Your Loved One Has Cancer
Last updated: April 2023
Many of us have watched a loved one go through a traumatic experience. Most of us want to jump right in and help, but sometimes, that is not the right approach. Often, they just want to be listened to and understood. This is true of people going through cancer. Sometimes they just need to verbalize how they feel and a compassionate set of ears is what they need. Many times they don’t want advice or comparison to your cancer experience. They just want to be listened to. If you are able to do that and can be there for them, you have probably offered the best gift you can give. The problem is, many times work or other responsibilities get in the way. Sometimes, distance is the issue.
There are still things you can offer to do or find out about. I hope the list below gives you some ideas that may be helpful for your loved one. Good luck to you both as you travel this path.
Services offered at the hospital
Many hospitals, clinics, or doctor offices have additional services to help their patients. They may have support groups, nutrition advice, exercise programs, or even counselors to speak to.
Find out who their doctor is and give them a call. You may be presently surprised at what they offer. If they don’t presently offer any, ask if there are any programs they could recommend. There is usually something your loved one can take advantage of.
Setting up rides to appointments
Getting rides back and forth to appointments can be difficult. Sometimes your loved one is unable to drive for one reason or another. Finding some kind of service or setting up a schedule with family members might be the thing they need. Some areas still have taxi services, but uber is also an option. There are busses, trains, and car services. They are probably not cheap, and not as good as a family member driving, but may be the only thing that can be worked out. This may be an important area your loved one needs help with and may be something you can set up from afar.
Shopping services and cooking needs
Treatments can be really rough and your loved one may not be up to shopping or cooking. Many stores have shopping services and in some cases, the food can be delivered right to their front door. In other cases, a pick-up may have to be set up.
Either way, it will make the process easier for them. Cooking may also be an issue. If you can get family members to chip in and cook for them weekly that’s best, but there are also restaurants that will deliver, and meal programs that can be put together fairly easily. Another option might be meals on wheels.
Home - inside and outside service setup
Cleaning and yard work may be out of the question for your loved ones while they are going through treatment. Hiring a weekly service to come in and offer a helping hand may be appreciated. There may even be some free services available.
The thing is, before doing this, be sure it is what they want. Some people are more private than others so be sure to ask about this first.
The most important thing you can do is call often, listen, ask if you want to offer advice, and end the conversation by asking what they need, but only do this if you are willing to try and do what they ask. If you know you don’t have time or the money to help, don’t offer. Your call will be enough.
Helping our family or friends going through cancer can be tough on both you and them. Unfortunately, many of us will have to go through this at some point. Knowing what you can do to help is one important step in their healing process.
Wishing you health & happiness.
How do you feel about your support system?