It can be difficult for your loved one to balance treatments and doctor’s appointments with their regular day-to-day tasks and errands, especially when they’re dealing with fatigue, pain, and other side effects. Asking for and accepting help is not easy for everyone, especially those who have traditionally managed their household or take pride in their independence. Here is some advice on how to offer and provide help to someone facing a breast cancer diagnosis.
Start at Home
If your loved one who has been diagnosed is a spouse, you’re likely their main source of support already. After the diagnosis, however, the roles and responsibilities you’ve each assumed — earning income, child care, household chores, preparing meals, or other daily tasks — may need some adjustment. First, start with communication. As your partner what their needs and limitations are.
At the same time, you may need some help, as well. Figure out what adjustments are needed in the household, and if it’s too much for the two of you, perhaps you can ask family and friends for help together.
If you have older children living at home or nearby, consider asking them to take on some additional responsibilities around the house. Older children and young adults are likely to be aware of the seriousness of breast cancer and may be looking for an opportunity to help.
If you Live Far Away
Many people live alone or far away from friends and relatives. If you live far away and your loved one who has been diagnosed with breast cancer doesn’t have a big support network at home or nearby, consider reaching out to local resources such as a church or community organization, such as Forge. Our Client Services Coordinator, Janet Dees, can help with transportation, grocery cards, support groups, and other obstacles that you can’t solve if you aren’t living nearby. Call her at (205) 990-5367 or [email protected].
Prioritize and Offer Specific Help
Ask your loved to be specific about what they can handle on their own and what they most need help with. Or offer specific help. Don’t just say “let me know if I can help in any way.” Think about what tasks you are best capable of handling and then offer to do those tasks specifically. If you love to cook, tell your loved one you would like to help prepare meals. If you have a flexible work schedule, offer to pick up their children from school. If you are good with finances, offer to help keep up with medical records, bills, and payments. Or if you’re good with medical situations, ask if they would like for you to go to doctor’s appointments to be an extra set of eyes and ears.
However, don’t be hurt if they refuse your help. Accepting help if hard for many of us. Wait some time and then ask again. They may be ready to accept help later on.