How to Ask for Help With Cancer Caregiving
Expect to receive offers of help
When you tell family members, friends, or neighbors that the person you're caring for has cancer, one of the first things they'll ask is, "How can I help?" In fact, as soon as the news that a person has cancer begins to spread, offers of help are likely to begin pouring in, often from unexpected sources. You may get a call or e-mail from a member of the person's book group or a neighbor you've never met. It's common to find yourself caught off guard by these offers of support and unsure how to respond.
Often, too, even when you do respond positively, you'll immediately lose track of the information necessary to follow up. It's far too easy, during the early chaotic days of cancer treatment, to promise yourself you'll remember a name and look it up in the phone book or to jot down an e-mail address, stuff it in your pocket, and lose it in the laundry. Yet these offers of support are valuable and worth acting on. Caring for someone with cancer is a huge job, and you're going to need all the help you can get.
"This is the time to call in the troops," says Bonnie Bajorek Daneker, author of The Compassionate Caregiver series, including The Compassionate Caregiver's Guide to Caring for Someone With Cancer. "You need to start lining up who you can count on to fight this enemy. These are the people you will turn to -- probably repeatedly -- for assistance."