If your loved one is going through chemotherapy, he or she may be experiencing several troubling side effects, and you probably want nothing more than to relieve these symptoms and help your loved one recover. Although simply being there for your loved one is strong medicine in itself, there are other ways to help. Here are some common side effects and how you can help as a caregiver:
Skin Problems: Cancer patients are at risk for numerous treatment- and disease-related skin impairments. Caregivers can help these skin problems by encouraging the use of sunscreen, helping to protect affected areas from trauma, and keeping skin clean and dry.
Hair Loss: Caregivers can encourage the purchase of a wig prior to treatment (in order to match hair color to a wig), and can minimize hair loss by using baby shampoo, a soft hairbrush, and minimizing hair washing.
Depression: If depression is suspected, contact a mental health professional. Also be sure to have health care providers review all medications for depressive side effects.
Fighting Nausea: Nausea is a common side effect of chemotherapy, but it can be helped with anti-nausea medications, avoiding greasy or spicy foods, and eating smaller meals more frequently. Letting an in-home care agency such as Visiting Angels do the cooking outside of the home can also help if cooking smells cause nausea.
Listening: The easiest and often best gift a caregiver can give to a cancer patient is communication. There is no right or wrong way of communicating and often just giving a hug or holding hands is enough to show a loved one that you care. Be prepared for your loved one to talk about the illness if he or she chooses, and more than anything else, be ready to lend an open ear.
If you or your loved one needs help navigating through cancer treatment or needs some extra support at home, contact Visiting Angels today! Our in-home cancer care services are available on an hourly basis or for live-in, around-the-clock care and companionship. Contact us at 408-735-0977 in Sunnyvale or 510-284-0000 in Fremont to get started!