Learning that someone you love has cancer can be devastating, especially when that person is your elderly parent. There’s a lot to think about and to learn. You may feel overwhelmed and like you just don’t know where to begin. You’re also probably wondering what to expect during treatment and how you can support your parent.
What to Expect
During cancer, your parent is likely to undergo both physical and emotional changes. The physical changes, of course, may depend on the type of cancer and the treatment. However, there are some physical changes that are common with most kinds of cancer. Some physical changes that may occur are:
- Changes in weight, either loss or gain.
- Hair loss.
- Change in appetite.
- Loss of a limb, or a breast, or scarring due to cancer surgery.
- Pale skin or lips, or other color changes.
- Trouble sleeping.
- Vomiting and nausea.
Your parent’s emotional response to learning they have cancer may be different from the response of others. They might experience any of the following:
- Mood swings.
- Feelings of isolation or loneliness.
Your parent might also experience much stronger emotions than they once did. They seem angrier or cry more easily. And, feelings might change from day to day. There will be good days and bad days, so be prepared for both.
Helping Your Parent to Cope
Your parent is likely to have their own way of coping with cancer. They might be very private about the condition and not wish to talk about it. Or, they could approach the situation with humor, finding things to laugh about. Perhaps they’ll meet cancer head on and become a warrior, looking for ways to take charge of their health. Whatever the case, roll with it. If they don’t want to talk, don’t force the issue. If they make jokes, laugh along. Or, if they want to take charge of their health, consider making healthy changes right along with them.
One of the best things you can do to ease your own fears and help your parent is to make a plan to be prepared during treatment. Knowing that things are going to be handled is a great stress reliever. Hiring an elder care provider to assist your parent during treatment and recovery can ease some of the worries about who will take care of things around the house or how your parent will get to appointments. An elder care provider can help with things like cleaning, cooking, and laundry. Elder care providers can help keep track of medical appointments and provide transportation.
For elder care in Cherry Hill, NJ, and the surrounding areas, call and talk to us at Home to Stay Healthcare Solutions (856) 321-1500.