How Do I Offer To Help A Person With Cancer?

Mark’s comment:

When I was caring for my mother, and now that I have two friends with cancer, I have made a habit of offering whatever seemed to make sense in the situation. I’ve bought groceries for them, given them rides to different places they might need to go—things like that. I did a lot of shopping for my mother, but I tried not to take over her life too much because she hated being dependent on other people.

And she was a proper Yankee lady, so there were certain things she didn’t want her son doing for her anyway—like her laundry, or bathing her. I just did the things I could to help out around the house without making her feel like she wasn’t independent anymore. If you would like to do something to help a person with cancer, it’s often easier to suggest specific and concrete ways of providing help, rather than making an open-ended offer of “Just let me know if you need anything.”

Try asking if you can bring over a meal that week, do laundry, or take him or her to an appointment. You can also do errands for the immediate family, such as grocery shopping or taking in the car for an oil change—anything to free them up to devote more time to attend to the needs of the person with cancer.

When offering to help, it’s important to be flexible. The kind of help that is offered or expected is often related to how the giver and receiver of help view their relationship with one another. For example, most people would not be comfortable with a casual acquaintance offering to take their kids for the summer. If your offer of help is turned down, however, it may be for reasons that have nothing to do with you or the relationship. So don’t be offended. Offer to do some-thing else you believe the person may be more comfortable with, and, of course, make sure that it’s something that you yourself are comfortable doing.