Authored by Scott Sanders <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Nearly 39% of Americans will deal with a cancer diagnosis at some point during their life. It’s a common condition that impacts millions of people each year but if you have a loved one who is being treated for cancer, they may be feeling alone. Chemotherapy and other forms of cancer treatment are painful, uncomfortable and exhausting, so it helps to have someone around to offer comfort and support. If you want to help a loved one in their battle against cancer, here are six ways to start.
Help Them Organize Their Home
Going through treatment can make your loved one feel chaotic so it helps to have a calm, organized space to come home to. Spend a day or two helping them declutter and arrange their home for easy access and convenience. If your friend or family member is in chemo, regular cleaning is crucial to prevent infections and complications. It’s best for chemo patients to not take on the cleaning themselves, so if you have the time tackle these sanitation tasks for them. If you can’t manage alone, ask friends or family members for help or consider hiring a professional cleaning service.
Get Out, or Stay In, to Have Some Fun
There will be days when they are just too tired to get out and that’s okay. But it’s still important for you to help them find ways to feel happy. Go for a quiet walk through your favorite park or along the beach. If they don’t feel up to activity, try something more subdued like a movie night at home featuring your favorite comedies. Laughing can be very therapeutic, so find ways to help them smile while going through this tough time.
Prepare or Order Some Healthy, Soothing Meals
Your loved one may not be up for cooking but it’s essential that they nourish their bodies while going through treatment. Help them out with some meal prep on weekends and prepare foods that are easy to eat and easy on the body. Chemotherapy can cause nausea and painful mouth sores, so think about pulling together lighter fare, such as chicken soup or soothing ginger popsicles. Keeping healthy foods available will help them keep their energy up through taxing treatments.
Find Ways to Encourage Rest and Self-Care
Rest and calm are vital to healing so help your loved one create a quiet space in their home for rest and relaxation. Work together to choose a cozy, comfortable space and add elements that will provide a much needed distraction from stress. Maybe pick up some detoxifying plants and some soothing essential oils or candles. Encourage mindful meditation and stress-relieving activities for your time together. If they feel up to it, you could book a day at the spa to unwind or even celebrate chemo victories.
Open Up Your Heart and Listen
Cancer is a heavy topic and those going through treatment often need a firm shoulder to cry on. Let your loved one open up to you as much as they like, even if it means talking about uncomfortable topics, like death. You don’t have to know what to say, and in fact, you don’t need to say anything at all during these times. Just listen with an open heart. If you start to feel down or overwhelmed, but you still want to stick around, seek out ways to decompress or think about talking to someone who can help you out.
Be There Through the Ups and Downs
Battling cancer can be a roller coaster of experiences and emotions and it helps to have someone there for the ride. Know that your loved one may experience days of joy mixed with days of pain. Calm and comfort them throughout their journey. Just being by their side is a true testament to your love and compassion. Take time to take care of yourself as well, however, so you can stay strong through their battles and your own.
Cancer treatment is tough but caring, compassionate friends can make all the difference to a cancer patient. Your gifts of help and hope will provide respite and comfort when needed most.