Coping with cancer can be extremely difficult, but it can often be just as difficult coping when one of your parents is diagnosed with this disease. To help you with this, below are three tips for assisting your parent that has been diagnosed with cancer:
Look After Your Siblings
In order to help your parents cope with the diagnosis, it's important that you take care of your siblings. Whether you are the youngest, oldest, or somewhere in the middle, make sure you take the time to speak with your family and understand how they are handling the situation.
Your siblings will cope in different ways than you do. Some may wish to be alone and take time to process the situation in isolation. Other people prefer to share the burden with family and friends and will look to discuss the cancer diagnosis with you. Whatever it may be, try and pay attention to your siblings' needs and let them lean on you when they need to.
Hire Extra Help
After the cancer diagnosis, your parents will be worried about everything that has to be done in terms of housework, hospital visits and looking after the family. Of course, you should actively help throughout the house where possible, but you should also look for external help to ease the load on the family.
Consider hiring a housekeeper to make regular visits to carry out routine tasks such as cleaning the house and buying groceries for the month. Although minor, these tasks can soon add up and you don't want your mother of father worrying about day-to-day things when dealing with the cancer treatment.
In addition to hiring a housekeeper, you should also look at getting nurses involved where possible. Rather than going back and forth to the hospital, which can quickly exhaust your loved one, look at getting a certified nursing assistant to administer home care. This will allow your parent to receive a basic level of healthcare at home and will limit the time (and cost) spent traveling to the hospital.
Seek Personal Support
To give your parent the best support possible, you need to take care of your own mental condition and emotional health. It's understandable that you'll want to act as the primary caregiver, but you can only give your parent proper attention if you are in a good position yourself. As such, if you are able to enlist the help of siblings or professional help, set aside time to interact with your mother of father as a son or daughter, not as a caregiver.
It may be difficult, but try and keep some interests outside of your home. You need time to unwind and focus on other things, so make sure you don't completely neglect your friends and other social groups. It's understandable that you may be apprehensive about this, but spending time on other things will ensure you can focus your energy on your mother or father when they need it most.