Finding out that your aging parent is suffering from cancer can be one of the most difficult situations that you can face as a family caregiver and as an adult child. This is a moment, however, when your role is at its most important. You will be one of your parent’s most valuable sources of support throughout their journey with cancer, helping them to feel more confident and ensuring that they go through their entire process in the way that is right for them. It is critical to understand that being a caregiver does not mean making decisions for your parent or stepping in and “taking over” their life. Instead, it is about offering care, support, and assistance to help them through their later years, and whatever they might face, in a way that feels true, respectful, and beneficial to them.
One of the most important ways that you can do this is when it comes time to discuss potential cancer treatments for your senior. Empowering them to make the decisions that are right for them helps to improve and protect their mental and emotional health, encourage greater compliance and motivation, and support a more meaningful and fulfilling lifestyle throughout their journey. It will also give you confidence that you are truly doing what you should be for your parent.
Use these tips to help you empower your senior family member to make the cancer treatment decisions that are right for them:
• Talk about it early. The best time to start talking about cancer treatments is before your senior has been diagnosed. When they are preparing for a screening or you are just discussing possible health challenges that might arise, bring up the possibility of cancer. Talk to them about what they think that they would want to do if they found out that they were living with cancer, and help them to record these wishes so that you can refer to them later.
• Help them find out about the options. Make sure that your parent understands that their doctor might not give them all of the options, and that they have the right to seek out the advice of other doctors, to do their own research, and to come to their own conclusions. Work with them to research different options and treatment centers, and find the one that feels the best to them.
• Accept that their treatment decision might not be yours. You want the very best for your parent and that means that you likely have ideas about what type of treatment they should undergo. This, however, might not be the decision that they make. You might find that your senior chooses a treatment that you do not agree with, shuns the treatment that you think is right, or might even decide to forego treatment altogether. Accept that this is a possibility and be willing to support your parent through it regardless.
If you have been consider ways that you can enhance your aging parent’s life and help them to live a lifestyle that is more fulfilling, engaged, and independent throughout their later years, now may be the ideal time for you to consider starting elder care for them. An elderly home care services provider can be with your aging parent on a schedule that is right not just for their needs, but also for the care that you are able to give them. This means that they can stay as healthy, safe, comfortable, and happy as possible as they age in place, and you can feel confident that they are getting everything that they need both when you are able to be with them and when you are not.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Manalapan, NJ, contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care’s Ocean/Monmouth Division. Call today 732-719-7011.
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