6 Ways to Help Seniors Manage Cancer

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Receiving the news your senior loved one has cancer can be painful. The shock may initially cause confusion, and your loved one may feel fear and uncertainty.

Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional home care. Caledon, ON, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life. There are various ways you can offer your loved one support throughout the cancer treatment and recovery processes. 

1. Communicate

Maintain open and honest communication with your loved one, physicians, and others involved with providing care. Keep your loved one informed about his or her treatment. Otherwise, your loved one may begin to feel isolated. Be there when he or she needs to cry or express fear or disappointment. 

2. Prepare for Changes

Once your loved one receives the diagnosis, help prepare for the changes his or her body will endure. Chemotherapy commonly causes hair loss. Start shopping for wigs or other options before this happens. Maybe a new outfit or makeup would make your loved one feel better. Radiation treatments may cause skin damage. Consult with healthcare providers and learn how to manage symptoms. 

3. Manage Pain

Seniors with cancer are often hesitant to discuss the physical discomfort they endure. They may not want to be a burden on others or appear weak, or they may fear addiction to pain medication. However, pain causes adverse emotional, psychological, and physical effects on the body. By establishing a trusting relationship with your loved one, you can help him or her overcome the adverse effects of cancer treatment. 

4. Prepare Nutritious Foods

Cancer and associated treatments may dampen a senior’s appetite or the ability to eat. However, without proper nourishment, the body cannot heal properly, fight the cancer, and recover. Prepare small meals or snacks your loved one can eat throughout the day. Choose protein and vitamin-rich foods. Bland foods might be more palatable if prepared with spices. Encourage fluid intake. Consider offering nutritional supplements if needed, and avoid dietary restrictions unless ordered by a doctor. 

Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Caledon, ON, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

5. Encourage Exercise

 

Physical activity has many benefits for seniors with cancer. Taking a short walk on a sunny day can have positive effects on your loved one’s mood, and basic stretching exercises can keep his or her body flexible. Exercise also helps boost appetite and may lessen pain. Encourage activities that do not exceed your loved one’s physical ability, help your loved one realize his or her limitations to avoid exertion, and encourage rest when needed. 

6. Befriend Other Seniors with Cancer

Although your loved one’s family and friends may provide support and comfort, your loved one may still feel alone. Talking to other seniors with cancer and hearing them share their stories provides a sense of camaraderie. Your loved one may also gain valuable insight into the disease and find hope and inspiration. Your loved one might also feel more comfortable sharing his or her innermost feelings with others who can relate. 

Aging adults with cancer can benefit from hiring professional caregivers. Every senior has different needs when aging in place. Some simply need occasional assistance with household chores, while others may be managing a serious illness and require more extensive 24-hour care. Caledon seniors can count on Home Care Assistance to provide the in-home care they need and deserve. Call us at 905-951-8885 to create a customized care plan for your senior loved one.

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