Caring for someone is a privilege but it is also very demanding and in our lifetime we are likely to end up caring for someone close to us. We are living longer which means that there is more ill health in our later stages. I have experience of caring for my Popa and giving meaningful cancer support in the end stages of his life and it is both rewarding and exhausting but something that I will never forget.
There are a number of practical and emotional ways that you can help care for someone who has cancer. Both practical and emotional support is important and both will be much appreciated. Many of us find that we are naturally better at either the practical cancer support or emotional cancer support, although many have no choice and will need to provide both types.
Practical Ways to Support Those with Cancer
- Driving to appointments, this is one of the most practical ways that you will provide cancer support to someone. When someone has cancer there are many appointments from taking the poorly person to leaders in oncology care, blood tests and regular appointments for treatments including chemo or radiotherapy.
- Help them find out if they are entitled to any extra financial benefits that may help them when they are unwell. There is also a carer’s allowance available to some if they are providing cancer support.
- Making sure the fridge is stocked with food that can be easily eaten and prepared. My popa did not eat much but things like soup was one of the things he would try. Boiled sweets are also good for those who get a funny taste in their mouth following treatment.
- Popa was also often cold and so having layers helped, I got a heated blanket which is useful in the living in the evenings.
- If the person with cancer is younger and has a family, helping with childcare or having children overnight can help, again especially around treatment times.
- Look at what other support is available from charities local to you. There are organisations that can help both during treatment and even those that help after treatment.
- Help them in their home with some light housework, picking up prescriptions things that can help.
- Consider practical gifts like magazine subscriptions, a Netflix sub, scarves and beauty gifts that make someone feel pampered.
Emotional Support for those with Cancer
- Being present is really important and those visits will make a difference.
- When visiting is not practical don’t underestimate the power of text and Facetime. This regular contact will help someone know that you are thinking about them.
- Read and learn about the diagnosis. The more informed that you are the more that you can give that emotional support.
Caring is not easy but many of us what to be the ones to provide support to the people we love. As a carer though remember to also take care of your own needs.