No one knows the exact moment his or her life will change until it happens. When a loved one shares their cancer diagnosis with you, it can be life-altering. At first, it’s common to feel overwhelmed with feelings of sadness, helplessness, and worry. However, if you understand their basic physical and emotional needs, you will be better prepared to support your loved one with cancer.
How to support a loved one with cancer
Grief and anger are normal feelings for anyone who has been touched by cancer to experience. It’s important to process your feelings first, so you can then prepare for their difficult journey ahead. Learn how to help support a loved one with cancer with these tips:
- Deal with your own emotions first
Face your feelings and your fears first, so you can be truly able to attentively listen to their needs.
- Consciously listen
Simply listening to someone talk about their cancer may sound easy, but it is often surprisingly difficult. Let your loved ones express their feelings without interruption or judgment. Suppress your desire to fix the situation and just listen.
- Tell them you love them
No matter how much your actions express your love; let them know they are special and valued, often. People with cancer may feel like a burden, so reassure them they are loved with words and actions.
- Lend a helping hand
Don’t wait for your loved one to ask for help because they probably won’t. But, they will deeply appreciate you helping with regular household tasks like paying bills, washing clothes, loading the dishwasher or dusting. Also, it’s important to be specific when offering to help. Your loved one may be overwhelmed with decision-making; suggesting a specific thing you can do to help can be a help in itself.
- Take them to appointments
Hospitals and clinics can be upsetting places; having someone there can help take the edge off. You can offer to take notes during the appointment and help them remember the questions they wanted to ask their doctor.
The board-certified oncologists at Regional Cancer Care Associates’ Central Jersey Division provide compassionate, individualized support for cancer patients in New Jersey. Call 732-390-7750 to schedule an appointment.