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“How can I help you?”
This is a question that not all caregivers of someone with cancer may be prepared to answer. From personal experience with our son’s cancer treatment, I can’t tell you how many times I have responded with “nothing,” even if that wasn’t necessarily true. This response often came from feelings of being overwhelmed, not wishing to be a bother to others or simply from being too emotional to even communicate what I needed at the time.
If you have someone in your life who is a caregiver, or know someone with cancer, you may express a desire to help them in some way. The caregiver may be receptive, or they may be hesitant. Know that any hesitation does not mean that the caregiver needs nothing. They may have hurdles in verbalizing their needs. Here are a few ways to show support to a caregiver, even to one who may not be direct in expressing their needs.
Offer house keeping or cleaning services
Taking care of someone with cancer doesn’t leave much time for traditional house cleaning. Volunteer time to pop in and wash a few dishes or vacuum the floor. Or, if money allows, hire a cleaning service to head to their house a time or two. We experienced both: someone who volunteered to clean our house for a few months and a group who hired a cleaning service for us for a month. Feel free to think outside the box, too. In the winter time, shoveling snow from a walkway to create a clear path for the patient and caregiver can be just as awesome as cleaning inside!
Ways to Show Support to a Caregiver
Volunteer drives or accompaniment to doctors’ appointments
The need for this will vary by patient. For instance, since we had a child, we were always with our son. However, there were a few times where I had to take my son to appointments on my own. It would have been nice to have someone along for support or as an extra distraction for an upset little boy.
Offer sitter services
Allow the caregiver time to rest by volunteering to sit with the person with cancer for a bit. Allow the caregiver to choose the time, if possible, so that they can determine the best time a rest. Even just a few hours can make a difference!
Shopping pick up
With many grocery stores offering online order with curbside pickup, caregivers can order groceries online. Offering to grab these groceries can be a big time saver for caregivers.
There is always travel involved when it comes to caregiving. Gas cards help alleviate some of the expenses that come along with this.
Restaurant gift cards
One of our most frequent expenses that accumulated was food. We lived almost a hour away from the hospital, and treatments took over the majority of the day. We ate out much of the time. Research to see what restaurants are near the treatment center or hospital and grab gift cards to make it convenient.
Offer to bring a meal to the caregiver and their family. This is especially helpful on treatment days, when the time spent away from home is lengthy and tiresome, leaving little time for preparing meals.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
The Social Nubian says
This isn’t an amazing article. Is this app available for all caregivers who are catering for someone with any diagnosis.
Yes, anyone who is battling a diagnosis is eligible to sign up.
Shelley King says
This is a great app! I have seen the caregivers go through a lot. My grandparents had caregivers and we would all take turns staying on the weekends. I never thought about meals for their families or gift cards. That’s very thoughtful. I wish we would have thought of that. I now will remember this forever. Unfortunately, there’s always someone you know fighting a battle.
Sue Reddel says
Caregivers need so much support. They provide such important services and so often go unrewarded. I love the idea of an app they can use to communicate their specific needs to let people know howto meet them.
This is a great post! I’ve not cared for anyone with cancer but my Mother had Alzheimer’s and that was a real challenge. I had a caregiver here with her when I was at work but my nights and weekends were taxing and I would have loved to get a reprieve. As much as I loved her I was relieved when she was under professional care and I did find a great place that took good care of her.
This is a great article. When we were caring for my dad, my friends wanted to help but they just didn’t always know how. It was sad that the people who knew were the people who had gone through it themselves. Like we were the members of a morbid little club.
I had no idea that this existed. It seems like a great tool for anyone taking care of a person who is sick or even elderly.
Karen Mathis says
I love this so much ..thank you for sharing with us..great info..😁
Last August my mom found out she had breast cancer, while it was just stage 0, she still had to get a lump removed and she was able to keep her one breast. She had to do radiation and now has to take medicine for the rest of her life. But I’m totally recommending this app for her. We’re always trying to help her with basic tasks around the house, but she is hard headed and always says “nothing, when asked if she needs anything.
Caregiving is a difficult calling in so many senses. I love that you are encouraging others to support them through these awesome acts of kindness. I will be making a list of ways I can show the same love toward caregivers in my area.
This is such a nice list of ways people can help caregivers – anyone for that matter. I know people love giving to others, but they also love it when someone does something nice for them. Although they may not show it, everyone likes others to do something nice for them. They really do.
Bianca Dottin says
I don’t know anyone personally suffering from cancer but these are all great things to keep in mind. Sometimes it’s hard to decide how to help when you don’t know how.