When many people think about cancer, the first thing that they think about is how the person will fight it through medication, treatment, and other interventions. As a family caregiver, however, it is important that you understand that this is not the only element of a cancer fight. Your aging parent will also be facing a range of emotions and it is an important responsibility to help them manage those emotions in a way that is constructive and beneficial, and support their mental and emotional health and well-being throughout their experience.
Not only will this help to keep their quality of life as high as possible, but it can also help motivate them to take better care of themselves and maintain better physical health no matter how they have decided to approach their cancer fight.
Use these tips to help you support your parent emotionally during their cancer journey:
Let them know that you are there for them. Be available to talk to them when they need to talk and offer encouragement and support each time.
Don’t try to force them to talk about how they are feeling or what they are going through if they do not want to. Instead, just sit with them and give them reassurance through your presence.
Schedule regular check-ins with them through phone calls, visits, or video chat. This is especially important if you live at a distance from them and are not able to visit as frequently as you would like to. By having a set schedule of when you will talk to your parent or when the next visit is, you are showing that you are a continued part of their life.
Don’t shy away from the difficult conversations that your parents will need to have during this experience. This includes talking about the types of treatments that they might undergo and, the decision to stop treatment, and end-of-life decisions.
Continue to find ways to spend quality time together and focus on having fun, making memories that you can cherish into the future, and laughing with your parents. Everything that you do and all of the time that you spend together should not be focused just on their cancer or their cancer fight, but instead on them and their continued life.
If you have been looking for ways to enhance your aging parent’s life and help them to live the lifestyle that they desire, now may be the ideal time for you to consider starting home care services for them. A home care services provider can give your parent a set of highly personalized services tailored specifically to their individual needs, challenges, and limitations.
These services will help your parent to manage these needs while also encouraging them to stay as independent, active, and as fulfilled as possible as they age. As their family caregiver, this can give you a tremendous peace of mind knowing that both when you are with your parent and when you are not, they are getting the highest quality of care. This can ease your stress and enable you to focus your energy and attention in ways that are more efficient and beneficial.