Learning a friend has cancer can be sad, distressing, and devastating. It often leaves one wondering what they can do to help. Keep in mind there’s no rule book for supporting a patient coping with cancer. While looking for support, consider the unique relationship and offer help in ways your friend or the patient will appreciate and understand.
At first, it might feel uncomfortable, but it’s important to support the friend and treat them the same way you would treat them before the diagnosis. Here are a few helpful tips from Seniors Helping Seniors on how you can support loved ones with cancer.
Becoming a Nurse
When you become a nurse, you save lives, and this is an incredibly rewarding experience. Nurses are in demand everywhere you go as they play a critical role in the care of patients. Besides helping people with cancer cope with the treatment and effects of the ailment, being a nurse also allows you to earn decent money. The first step in becoming a nurse is ensuring you get a solid education.
Depending on your state regulations, you need accreditation to serve as a nurse and help cancer patients. The minimum qualifications are a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree or an associate degree, and you must also pass the licensure examination for registered nurses. To complete the coursework, you can complete an online degree. The program fits into your busy schedule, so you can keep working your current job while studying.
Whether you’re extroverted or an introvert, there are many ways you can support someone being treated for cancer. With volunteer opportunities, you can serve in different ways. There are programs you could join that help you offer one-on-one assistance to cancer patients directly. You could also join a support group that works with cancer patients.
If you would love to work with the patients directly, you can offer services like driving them to doctor appointments, helping the patients at home by taking them meals, doing their groceries, and taking care of their pets. You can also donate to a cancer charity if you don’t have the opportunity to support the person directly.
Become a Practitioner for Alternative Cancer Treatment
Many people with cancer will agree to explore anything that can help them, including alternative cancer treatments. One of the alternative treatment options you can explore is aromatherapy, which uses fragrant oils to create a calming sensation. You can apply oils infused with scents like lavender to the skin during a massage, or you can add the oil to the bathwater. Another option is to offer massage to the patient to relieve muscle tension and promote relaxation.
Give Thoughtful Gifts
Gifting someone receiving cancer treatment can be tricky. Flowers may not be ideal if their immune system is weak. Avoid gifts with a strong smell or perfume as these can be overwhelming for the patient. Some of the thoughtful gifts you can offer to the patient include magazines, books, puzzles, and books, which can be good distractions during treatment.
Other examples include giving the patient a gift certificate for their home cleaning service. Redeeming the gift certificate can help pick up slack at home, and this is not an uncomfortable option like showing up yourself to clean your friend’s home.
When looking for the best way to support a cancer patient, you need to keep their needs in mind. You can help in different ways, including becoming a nurse to care for the patients directly. Also, you can volunteer your time and donate to a charity that helps patients receiving cancer treatment.
Seniors Helping Seniors in-home care services brighten the lives of seniors who can benefit from a helping hand and a friendly smile. Our caregivers, who are seniors themselves, make your life easier by providing compassionate care in the comfort of your home. Call or text 312-526-3666 to learn about open caregiver positions.
Article contributed by Annabelle Harris from elders.center