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When someone you love is battling cancer, it can be difficult to know exactly how to help. And while you may not be able to take their pain or emotional anxiety away, you can certainly assist with reducing their stress levels and helping with daily chores that might otherwise drain their energy. In fact, there are many ways you can help your loved one who is living with cancer; you might offer to clean the house or do yard work, deliver food, run errands, or simply sit with them and watch a movie. Everyone has different needs, so it’s important to find out what your loved one needs most and help them in a way that suits both of you.
Cancer can make an individual feel isolated, especially if they are receiving treatment that makes them feel too ill to be social or take care of chores themselves. Helping your loved one feel that they have support and are loved is one of the best things you can do while they get through the hardest times, even if it means simply sitting with them while they nap so they don’t feel alone.
Keep reading for some great tips on how to help a loved one who is living with cancer.
If your loved one has a caregiver who helps with daily chores such as cooking and cleaning, check in with them to see if they need help. They may have limitations to what they can do as far as assistance goes, or your loved one may have specific needs–such as vegetarian meal preparation–that you can easily help with. Keeping communication open will help both you and your loved one.
Offer to help
Many individuals who battle cancer are left feeling weak or tired after receiving chemotherapy or other treatments, so it’s a good idea to offer your help with grocery shopping, housework, and other chores that might be too much for your loved one to handle. You can also offer to read the newspaper or a book aloud for them, as they may not have the energy to socialize but still want company. Those who have limited mobility might need help with moving safely around the house for as long as they can remain independent.
Help them get help for mental stress
Because living with cancer can be so draining and stressful, it’s imperative to help your loved one find emotional release, whether it’s through a hobby or by seeing a counselor or therapist. You might engage in a relaxing activity with your loved one, such as yoga or painting, or help them get back and forth between their doctor’s office and home.
Help them get comfortable
Because it can be hard for individuals who are living with cancer to get comfortable, you might help them make their surroundings as relaxing as possible. Pad the furniture with cushions, look for soft sheets and blankets for the bed, make sure the heating or air is set to the right temperature for your loved one’s needs, and make sure they have soft, breathable clothing to wear, even just around the house.
Helping someone you care about as they battle cancer can be emotionally draining for you as well, so it’s important to take care of yourself during the process. Make time to relax and de-stress, and talk to a therapist or counselor about your feelings if you begin to feel overwhelmed. Coping with an illness can leave both the individual and their loved ones feeling sad, tired, and anxious, so being able to vent about your feelings is imperative.