What can my grandfather do to help him relax about his cancer?

1 answer | Last updated: Nov 27, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My grandfather has 3 cancers in one area. What do you suggest he can do to help relax?


Expert Answers

Bonnie Bajorek Daneker is author and creator of the The Compassionate Caregiver's Series, which includes "The Compassionate Caregiver's Guide to Caring for Someone with Cancer," "The Journey of Grief," "Handbook on Hospice and Palliative Care," and other titles on cancer diagnosis and end of life. She speaks regularly at cancer research and support functions, including PANCAN and Cancer Survivor's Network. She is a former member of the Executive Committee of the CSN at St. Joseph's Hospital of Atlanta and the Georgia Chapter of the Lymphoma Research Foundation.

There are two components to relaxation: physical and mental. First, your grandfather needs to be physically comfortable. Make sure he has a place to rest and a place to walk, if he can manage to exercise. If he’s receptive, suggest he get a massage, take a warm bath, or go to a yoga class. Sometimes a cup of tea or glass of wine can encourage relaxation, but remember to stay within his doctor’s dietary recommendations.

He also needs to be mentally at ease. Does he know enough about his diseases and treatment? Is he comfortable with the treatment path? He needs to secure the amount of information that will be right for him. Talk to him about concerns he may have over relationships or accomplishments he’d like to pursue in the time he has left. Then, provide mental distractions that will stop him from dwelling on negative topics. Books, magazines, music, and theatre are great ways to get his mind off his concerns. Humor and laughter can be a great stress-reliever. Even the Internet can provide a great temporary “getaway,” where he can explore and wander to his heart’s content. If he doesn’t have Internet access at home, the public libraries have computers and Internet services free of charge.