Cancer continues to be a widespread disease across the world. Undoubtedly, cancer patients need specific care regardless of the disease’s progression. Explore these helpful tips for loved ones helping someone through a cancer journey.
1. Create a Team Plan
Your optimism may give you the confidence to consistently care for a loved one. Yet, you must be realistic. Create a plan for your loved one. For example, work out a schedule where you have a few days off each week. As for the other days, ask another loved one to watch them.
Caring for yourself is just as important as caring for your loved one. So, if you feel run down, it’s vital another family member or friend gives you time off. To be strong for the person you care for, you must be able to function well. Taking regular breaks allows you to be more alert and present overall.
2. Plan a Routine
Dealing with cancer brings on a lot of unknown factors. Uneasy feelings might be detrimental to your loved one’s mental health. As a solution, provide your loved one with some control by creating a routine. Daily, lay out breakfast, take a short walk, and arrange other diversions.
Also, ask them what they prefer to do. There may be certain activities they feel they feel up to doing. Always keep an open ear to their needs so they live life to the fullest. As a result, your loved one will have something to look forward to every day.
Naturally, alter your daily habits for some variety, such as visiting a farmer’s market one day. Simple routines give you flexibility if your loved one feels ill on occasion, too. Either way, they know what to expect as they fight this disease.
3. Invite Fun Into the Day
Family functions and events arise yearly, from birthdays to holiday parties. Be sure to include your loved one on these days. For instance, your family visits a park to barbecue and play games for the day. This is an excellent opportunity for your loved one to watch or participate. They can get excited about the day’s activities and enjoy an outdoor meal.
Watch your loved one to see if energy runs low by the afternoon. Leaving early might be a good idea for their health. So, play things by ear to see how they fare throughout the get-together.
4. Be Prepared
Cancer can be unpredictable at times. Be ready for an emergency by keeping significant phone numbers handy. For example, numbers to have on speed dial include their oncologist or nearby hospital.
If other family members care for them, consider having everyone log their symptoms and day-to-day happenings. Also include the medication they take. Oftentimes, it may be hard to track down a caretaker, especially if they take time away. Having every caretaker keep track of the medicine, etc., ensures all family members stay on the same page.
Preferably, keep a 90-day supply of medications at the home, too. This strategy reduces the number of trips to the pharmacy. When caring for your loved one, you likely don’t have time to go to the pharmacy last minute. So, keeping an ample supply of necessities at home is vital for any recovering cancer patient.
5. Educate Yourself
Without a medical background, caring for a loved one with cancer requires extra education. Ideally, take a class on caregiving. There are certain tasks you must learn to ensure you do your best. Focus on how to help a person up and down from a chair or toilet, for example.
Get familiar with safe grooming practices, too. Overall, you want to safely care for the loved one by avoiding accidents like slips and falls. Educating yourself can keep your loved one safe and help them feel comfortable during treatment.
6. Communicate With a Healthcare Team
You’re the most familiar with your loved one’s habits and daily health. Be an advocate for them. You must be proactive regarding communicating health issues to their doctor.
For instance, discuss eating habits, new ailments, and overall mental health. In the end, this information is priceless to doctors. They can alter care plans with your information in mind.
7. Consider Alternative Treatments
Many alternative treatments for palliative care are available for cancer patients. From massage therapy to meditation, many ways to combat cancer beyond chemotherapy exist.
Medical marijuana is a viable way to decrease pain, improve mood, and enhance appetite. Your loved one could use cannabis as an edible or smoke it. To see if they meet the medical requirements to get medical marijuana, you must speak to a medical marijuana doctor. Sites like Veriheal simplify the process of getting a medical marijuana card online. No matter your state, you can apply for a card online.
Complement any treatment plan with regular massages, too. Depending on your loved one’s preference, they might benefit from shoulder, full-body, or foot rubs. Easing pain and boosting mood are the key benefits of massages.
Many studies have shown that massage aids in relieving pain for cancer patients. It also gives them relief from anxiety and feeling tired. So, ask your loved one if they want to try massages. It could provide them with much-needed relief if they get regular massages.
Music therapy is an effective way to cope with discomfort related to cancer. It helps by relieving pain and nausea and reducing stress levels.
To attend music therapy, you don’t have to have musical talent. The point of the session is to unwind by listening to music, playing music, and writing music.
Many times, there are music therapists on staff at medical centers. If you feel this is something that may interest your loved one, have them try a session or two.
As a caregiver, you must ask for help when necessary. Don’t shoulder the burden on your own. Reach out to family and friends for support, such as talking about your emotions or going on a walk. When you feel supported, you can provide the necessary care for your loved one.