5 ways to support a loved one with cancer during COVID-19

Many people feel helpless when their loved one is going through a cancer diagnosis. It can be an overwhelming time for everyone involved and you might struggle with ways you can show your support. COVID-19 has made it even more challenging for us to interact with our family and friends, particularly those in high-risk groups such as cancer patients. Here are some ways that you can support a loved one going through cancer during these unprecedented times.

1. FaceTime or call them

It sounds so simple, but a quick call or FaceTime can really make someone’s day. The person may be isolating at home or feel too ill to go out, so FaceTime/phone call is a great way to connect with your loved one and show them you are thinking of them. It allows them to socialise from the comfort of their own home, however, be aware that they may not always be up for a chat. Check-in first to find a suitable time to call so they are aware in advance.

2. Prepare or order meals to be delivered to their house

One of the most common side effects of cancer treatments is fatigue. When you are tired, preparing and cooking meals can be a real struggle. By preparing or ordering meals/groceries for your loved one, you can help to eliminate the stress associated with having to cook (or even the stress of going to the supermarket). Meals that can be stored or frozen are fantastic idea.

3. Create a care package

Everyone loves a good pamper! Think about little things your loved one likes and try to include those (they don’t have to be expensive items). Some items that are great for care packages are:

  • Their favourite sweets
  • Candles
  • Creams for dry skin (cancer treatments can often dry out your skin)
  • Books
  • Head massager tool
  • Slippers or fluffy socks for wearing around the house
  • A journal or inspirational quote book

4. Help them discover new at-home hobbies

It can get boring being at home all day, so helping them discover an at-home hobby is a great way to pass some time and learn a new skill. Some ideas are paint by numbers, mindfulness colouring, puzzles and knitting/crochet. You could also gift them some online meditation or gentle yoga sessions.

5. Offer a lift to a hospital appointment or support virtually

In some circumstances, a person might not be able to drive themselves to their hospital appointments. Public transport is not an ideal method of transport for people in the high-risk category, so if you are able to, you could offer your loved one a lift to an appointment. Be aware that many hospitals are not allowing friends or family to attend appointments during COVID-19, so you may have to come back to pick them up. Alternatively, if you are not able to offer a lift, you could offer to attend an appointment with your loved one virtually. This involves you being on speakerphone or FaceTime with your loved one during their appointment and can help them feel supported even when you aren’t physically there.

Emma Thorne

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