Dealing with cancer can be challenging on every level, and even well-meaning friends and family don’t always know how, or when, to offer help.
Emotional and practical supports can make a big difference, like offering to babysit for a friend so that they can go out to dinner with their spouse or accompanying them to medical appointments. “You might hear things they don’t hear or be able to suggest questions for the medical professionals who are treating them,” says Anjani Lewick, FNP, BC, Director of Oncology Services at the Redl Center for Cancer Care at MidHudson Regional Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth).
Lewick also counsels opening the door to talking with them about their wishes, such as appointing a healthcare proxy. The earlier the better, as these conversations are more difficult after someone is sick.
“Encourage them to talk with their healthcare team about community services, such as food deliveries, cleaning services, financial assistance, childcare, transportation and more,” says Lewick. “Services depend on the patient’s diagnosis, geographic area and other factors, and social workers are familiar with local resources. It’s not easy to ask for help when it feels like you’re living in an alternate reality.”