Caring for a Senior Parent With Cancer – Tips to Help

April 10, 2023

Caring for a senior parent with cancer can be incredibly challenging, especially if you are the primary caregiver. Seniors are higher at risk for cancer, with people over 65 accounting for 60% of newly diagnosed malignancies. It is important to remember that your parent needs love and support during this difficult time, and there are many ways you can provide them with both. Here are some tips to help you better care for your senior parent who has cancer. 

Get Organized 

The first step in caring for your senior parent with cancer is getting organized. Create a schedule of all their doctor’s appointments, treatments, list of contacts such as family members and emergency contacts, etc. This will help you keep track of everything that needs to be done and ensure that nothing slips through the cracks. Additionally, if you have other family members helping out with caregiving duties, having this information readily available will help make things easier for everyone. 

Learn About Their Condition 

It’s important to understand what type of cancer your senior parent has and what the treatment plan is, so you know exactly what they’re going through. Talk to the medical team about any questions or concerns you may have. Educating yourself on their condition will also give you peace of mind knowing that you are doing everything possible to provide them with the best care possible. 

Help Them Feel Relaxed and At Ease 

Caring for someone who is seriously ill can be stressful at times, but it's important to make sure your senior parent feels comfortable and relaxed as much as possible during this trying time. Spend quality time together by watching movies or chatting about life experiences--anything that brings joy and laughter into their day can significantly improve their mood and outlook on life. You could even look into activities such as art therapy or music therapy which research suggests could reduce anxiety levels in people living with cancer.  

Talk, Listen, and Offer Support 

It is important to be a listening ear for your senior parent throughout their cancer journey. There may be times when they want to talk about their diagnosis or express emotions like fear, anger, or sadness. Make sure you give them the space they need to do so without judgment or interruption. Also, make sure that you offer your love and support whenever possible—even if it’s just holding their hand during a difficult conversation or medical appointment. 

Seek Out Support 

It is also important that you seek out support along the way as well. Taking on the role of caregiver can take its toll on both physical and mental health so make sure that you reach out to family members, friends, or even professionals who are available to provide emotional support during this difficult time. Additionally, consider partnering with an in-home care company like BrightStar Care® who can provide extra assistance in managing day-to-day tasks such as meal preparation or transportation to doctor’s appointments. 

Respect Independence  

While providing extra support is important, it’s also critical that you respect your senior parent’s autonomy throughout the process as well. Try not to take over too much. Instead, let them make decisions whenever possible (unless medically necessary). This will help ensure that they still feel valued and independent despite any obstacles they may face due to their diagnosis. 

Plan For The Future   

It’s also essential that you plan for the future as well, including sorting out finances/wills/etc., as well as considering who might manage their affairs if they become too unwell due to their illness (some people arrange lasting power of attorney). Planning ahead like this can help protect both your loved one's autonomy and financial security in case of any unexpected health issues down the road.

Know What Types of Care Are Available 

When caring for your senior parent with cancer, it’s important to understand what types of care are available and which ones would be most beneficial for them. Depending on the type of cancer they have and their overall health, different options may be more appropriate than others. A great place to start is by talking with their doctor about what types of care might be best suited for them. Additionally, BrightStar Care can provide further guidance into the types of services that may help your loved one in the long run. Our trained professionals work closely with our clients and their families, so they receive the personalized care they need while navigating through this difficult time. 

Maintain Regular Communication 

It is essential to maintain regular communication when caring for a senior parent with cancer. This means checking in on how they are feeling or if there’s anything they need from you as well as allowing them to express any concerns or worries they may have regarding their diagnosis or treatment plan. Reassure them that their feelings are valid and address any questions or concerns that come up during your conversations together. Additionally, ensure that all changes in their condition or health status is reported directly to their doctor so that any necessary medical interventions can be taken quickly if needed. 

Partner with BrightStar Care Today for Help Supporting Your Loved One!

Caring for a senior parent with cancer isn't easy; however, it doesn't mean it's impossible either! Use these tips as guidelines while providing support throughout this journey—and don't forget that BrightStar Care is here to help along the way too! With our professional caregivers and 24/7 emergency response teams always ready to assist our clients in times of need, we make sure everyone feels supported in every step they take towards recovery—including those providing care too! Reach out today so we can discuss how we can create an individualized plan just for you and your family member's unique situation.