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Published on September 17, 2014

helping neighbor with grocery shopping

Offering Help to Someone Going through Cancer Treatment

Many patients’ family and friends say “What can I do to help” or “How can I help?” But what does that truly mean?

People with cancer have a hard time figuring out what exactly you could do to help or what they need help with.

The solution? Be direct about what you can or would like to do, and when you are available to do it. The more specific you are, the more likely your friend or family member will accept your offer of assistance.

When deciding what to offer for help, think about how much time it will take you and what you are good at doing. Below are a few suggestions:

  • Cooking – Offer to cook a few meals that are easy to reheat in disposable containers.
  • Organization – Offer to complete paperwork, fill out forms, get bills ready, track insurance claims/payments, and/or assist with organizing a filing system that makes sense to them.
  • Cleaning – Pick a household chore such as cleaning windows, washing a kitchen floor and/or changing bed linens.
  • Driving – Bring the patient to appointments. He or she may have multiple appointments and sometimes can’t drive him- or herself.
  • Technology – Assist or teach how to use technology to stay in touch with friends or family at a distance.
  • Shopping – Assist or go to the grocery store for food as the need to eat never goes away or it might be difficult to get away to shop.
  • Outdoor work – Yard work is physically exhausting and sometimes patients don’t have the stamina for it.
  • Caring for kids – Babysit as children have lots of energy and crave fun and attention.

Both big and small gestures will be appreciated, so make sure you only commit to one task at a time that you’re sure you can do and follow through.

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