How can you get others to assist you in this difficult time? In this chapter, we outline some ideas that have been useful to many cancer carers.
The tips and suggestions in this book are meant to address generic or common situations that carers may face. Expect to adapt these to your own unique experience.
This chapter summarises tips provided throughout this book as well as suggests other ideas.
HOW CAN I INVOLVE OTHERS?
- Ask for help with transport and chores
- Get friends to look for information on cancer from books, the Internet, etc. Get them to speak to doctors as well.
- Donít have negative people around your loved one. Tell them what and what not to say.
- Get a friend and family member to sit by your loved oneís bed to chat and keep them company.
- If they canít visit, ask them to send uplifting letters, cards and presents from time to time as these would be welcome.
- Often, people want to help, but donít know what to do. Make a list of things to be done and ask your friends to help with the listed items.
- Ask for help with meal preparation and cooking.
- Get a close friend or two to be the news disseminator. In this way, you donít have to constantly update everyone.
- Get them to accompany you and your loved one during hospital visits. The extra hands, eyes and ears will be useful.
- Ask them if they know any other cancer carers or those who have beaten the disease.
- Ask them to help contact your loved oneís employer to explain the situation.
HOW CAN FRIENDS & FAMILY HELP?
- Bring food over.
- Offer to take the carer out or even the cancer patient if
- Show empathy not pity. Avoid false reassurances. Show
concern but donít become a busybody just wanting to find
out what is going on.
- Donít persistently call the carer or the family. Persistent
calling and asking can be annoying.
- Tailor responses to suit the patient, not what you think is
- Useful things you can bring to the hospital include:
- Books, magazines, reading material
- Flowers, food, tissues
- Earplugs for sleeping
- Alarm clock
- Thermos flask
- DVDs, CDs
- Chewing gum
- Clothing items
- Be sensitive when visiting. Leave when itís time to go.
- Accept that the patient may say No to your offers.
- Help with the other family members (children, etc).
- Look after their pets.
- Offer to find out about welfare and domestic assistance.
- Record a video. Itís a great way to preserve the memories of a terminally ill cancer person.
- Say sorry if you need to for closure.
- Offer support and prayers. They are usually welcome.