6 Tips for Helping an Older Loved One with Cancer

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Helping an Older Loved One with Cancer

Receiving the news your senior loved one has cancer can be painful. The shock may initially cause confusion, and your loved one may feel fear and uncertainty. However, there are various ways you can offer your loved one support throughout the cancer treatment and recovery processes.

1. Communicate

Maintain open and honest communication with your loved one, physicians, and others involved with providing care. Keep your loved one informed about his or her treatment. Otherwise, your loved one may begin to feel isolated. Be there when he or she needs to cry or express fear or disappointment.

2. Prepare for Changes

Once your loved one receives the diagnosis, prepare for the changes his or her body will undergo. Chemotherapy commonly causes hair loss. Start shopping for wigs or other options before this happens. Maybe a new outfit or makeup would make your loved one feel better. Radiation treatments may cause skin damage. Consult with healthcare providers and learn how to manage symptoms.

3. Help Your Loved One Address Pain

Seniors with cancer are often hesitant to discuss the physical discomfort they endure. They may not want to be a burden on others or appear weak, or they may fear addiction to pain medication. However, pain causes adverse emotional, psychological, and physical effects. By establishing a trusting relationship with your loved one, you can help him or her overcome the painful effects of cancer treatment.

4. Prepare Nutritious Foods

Cancer and its associated treatments may dampen a senior’s appetite or ability to eat. However, without proper nourishment, the body cannot heal properly, fight the cancer, and recover. Prepare small meals or snacks your loved one can eat throughout the day. Choose foods rich in protein and vitamins. Bland foods might be more palatable if they’re prepared with spices. Encourage fluid intake. Consider offering nutritional supplements if needed, and avoid dietary restrictions unless ordered by a doctor.

Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Columbus, Ohio, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

5. Encourage Exercise

Physical activity has many benefits for seniors with cancer. Taking a short walk on a sunny day can have positive effects on your loved one’s mood, and basic stretching exercises can keep his or her body flexible. Exercise also boosts appetite and may lessen pain. Encourage activities that don’t exceed your loved one’s physical ability, help your loved one realize his or her limitations to avoid exertion, and encourage rest when needed. 

Aging adults who require assistance with the tasks of daily living can benefit from reliable elder care. Columbus, OH, families trust Home Care Assistance to provide the high-quality care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. Our caregivers are trained to help seniors prevent and manage serious illnesses and encourage them to make healthier decisions as they age.

6. Urge Your Parent to Befriend Other Seniors with Cancer

Although your loved one’s family and friends may provide support and comfort, your loved one may still feel alone. Talking to other seniors with cancer and hearing them share their stories provides a sense of camaraderie. Your loved one may also gain valuable insight into the disease and find hope and inspiration. Your loved one might also feel more comfortable sharing his or her innermost feelings with others who can relate. 

Aging adults with cancer can benefit from hiring professional caregivers. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elderly home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. To schedule a free in-home consultation, give us a call at (614) 481-8888 today.

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