Caring for a Loved One Undergoing Cancer Treatment
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Watching a friend or family member go through something as painful and emotionally draining as cancer can take a huge toll on your own physical and mental health. The key is to remember that cancer affects the body, mind, and soul, and there is no right way to cope. Finding ways to keep your friend or relative happy and healthy will help both of you on what can be an incredibly stressful journey.
Keep Them Nourished
Various cancer treatments can cause nausea and other stomach issues, making it much harder to eat or have an appetite. Help your loved one stay nourished by offering several small meals or snacks throughout the day. Keep healthy foods on hand like trail mix, dried fruit, whole wheat crackers, and oatmeal. Make use of superfood supplements that are healthy to counter fatigue. It will also be helpful to make sure they’re drinking enough water; staying hydrated can be an issue for many individuals during cancer treatment. Cool apple juice or popsicles can help, as they are easy to digest.
Keep Germs at Bay
People who are going through cancer treatment are more susceptible to bacteria and illness due to a lowered immune system, so it’s important to help them sustain a germ-free environment. Remove your shoes at the door, and request that any guests do the same. If you are helping around the house, you can institute several precautions such as washing your hands thoroughly and being conscious not to touch your face. Keep hand sanitizer and antibacterial soap at every sink, and let well-wishers know that they should be extra cautious about visiting during cold and flu season. Of course, visitors who have any symptoms of contagious illness should call, text, or arrange a virtual meeting through Facetime or Zoom instead of showing up in person.
Create a Calm Space
It’s imperative to help keep cancer patients calm and relaxed as much as possible in order to reduce stress and anxiety. This means assisting them in finding hobbies that make them happy and engaging in activities that will help them feel centered and relaxed, such as yoga and meditation. In fact, you can create a space in the home just for this activity, where distractions are filtered out and it’s possible to focus on the present rather than worry about the past or future.
Travel Not Too Far from Home
Travel can often help lift everybody’s spirits and give people a new perspective. Before travelling, the Cleveland Clinic notes you should think through your timing in respect to treatment, as well as things like whether special medication or equipment should be part of your planning. With the right precautions, a getaway can be a refreshing and positive part of your healthcare journey.
Travelling doesn’t necessarily mean traveling far from home. You can explore staycations if you really can’t travel. However, travel doesn’t necessarily mean going too far from home. A getaway to a nearby vacation rental can be just as restorative as a trip abroad if you go about it the right way; there are sites like Turnkey that make it easy to find accommodations meeting your personal criteria, whether you need accessibility, pet-friendliness, or a pool to soak in. A little research can go a long way towards a peaceful and rejuvenating getaway.
Keep It Light
Many people who are battling cancer are facing a darkness that most of us can’t even imagine. It can be difficult to keep the patient’s spirits up during such a time, so it’s important to find fun activities to do to make the most of the day. Card and board games are popular ways to pass the time, as is watching movies or TV shows. Don’t be afraid to make jokes and be silly; this can only help your loved one feel like things are “normal” and less stressful.
Take Care of Yourself
Helping a loved one get through cancer treatment can be emotionally draining, so it’s important to also take care of your own needs at this time. Talk to a counselor or therapist if you feel overwhelmed, and make an effort to get enough sleep so you can recharge. Exercise, meditation, and yoga may help you regain your emotional equilibrium and alleviate stress. Above all else, do everything in your power to establish and maintain a positive mental state. Self-care is as important for the caregiver as for the patient, so keep this idea in mind as you do what you can in the fight against one of the most serious diseases currently facing humanity.
Overall, be kind. Be kind to yourself and your loved one. Following some of the tips above will help you to take care of your loved ones and make the process they are going through to battle cancer less stressful.