Cancer is a terrible disease – it makes a person feel weak and vulnerable, but they still have to find ways to function in their day-to-day lives. Read more about these 4 ways to help a loved one with cancer…

When a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, and you’ve never faced a health issue like that yourself, it can be difficult figuring out how best to help them. Cancer is awful — it makes a person feel weak and vulnerable, but they still have to find ways to function in their day-to-day lives. There is also the incredible financial burden that comes with a cancer diagnosis.

The stress of it all is a lot for one person to take. There is no one best way to help a loved one with cancer, but there are several small things you can do to help make their lives a bit easier during this difficult time.

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Ask & Listen

Everybody has their own preferences– this rings true even when people are going through cancer treatment. The only way you can truly know your friend or family member’s preferences regarding how they want to be treated during this time is by asking them and listening to what they tell you.

You may be surprised with what they have to say. Some people become tired of talking about cancer with doctors all day and don’t want to talk about it anymore. Others may be scared and want to express their fears with a confidante without being judged. You can’t know what other people are thinking and feeling– they have to tell you. But first, you have to ask.

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Help With Research & Paperwork

A knack for clerical work is a seriously underrated skill. If you are lucky enough to possess it, a loved one with cancer could certainly use your expertise. There is tons of paperwork when it comes to dealing with hospitals, insurance, lenders, and all the other agencies your friend may be working with.

You can also help when it comes to searching for specialists and oncologists and making travel arrangements when needed. It may only take a few hours out of your week, but it can be a huge help for a person fighting cancer.

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Help With Childcare

When a parent is dealing with cancer, they need a helping hand to make sure their children are taken care of when they are at treatment. Offering your services to babysit helps save the family a little money while giving the parent some peace of mind. After all, they don’t want their children at the clinic or hospital witnessing their difficulties.

They’d rather go into their appointments knowing their children are distracted for the time being. If the children ask you questions about their parent’s illness while you watch them, be friendly and honest. If you notice any strange or troubling behaviors while watching the children, be sure to let the parent know when they come back.

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Perform Chores & Run Errands

Cancer treatment takes up a lot of time. For some people, the first thing to go when they simply don’t have the time or energy is the household. It can be difficult to get the motivation to mow the grass or wash the dishes when you are facing life or death. You can help by stepping in and either lending a hand or recruiting professionals to help with household chores and necessary errands.

  • Offer to come by and clean for a couple of hours, or hire a housekeeper to come by once a week.
  • Go grocery shopping and stock up on easy-to-make meals, or have a healthy meal kit delivered that takes the guesswork out of what’s for dinner.
  • Find a neighborhood dog walker that can ensure Fido is getting enough exercise. If they have to travel for treatment at some point, help them find a boarder that will watch their beloved pet and make sure he is safe and happy.

You can’t read a person’s mind, but a loved one who is dealing with cancer won’t likely come right out and ask for what they need. That’s why it is so important to ask and listen to what they tell you. Whether they need assistance with research and paperwork or simply someone to walk the dog now and then, there is a way you can be there for them.

Written by Chief Health

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