Friday, November 18, 2011

Family Matters: Talking to Your Elderly Parent About Your Cancer

Since people are living much longer these days, many people with cancer may also be caring for their aging parents. For example, you may help your parents with their shopping or take them to doctor. Your aging parents may even live with you.

You have to decide how much to tell your parents about your cancer. Your decision may depend on how well your parents can understand and cope with the news. If your parents are in good health, think about talking with them about your disease.

Now that you have cancer, you may need extra help caring for your parents. You may need help only while you are in treatment. Or you may need to make long-term changes in your parents' care. Talk with your family members, friends, health professionals, and community agencies to see how they can help.

Summing Up: Cancer and Your Family
Cancer will not only change your life, but also the lives of those around you. It impacts families and friends in different ways.
  • Talking about cancer can be hard for some families.
  • Routines of family life may change.
  • Roles and duties within the family will change.
  • Relationships can be both strained and strengthened.
  • Dealing with money and insurance often become hard.
  • You may need to change where you live and with whom, at least for a while.
As you think about how cancer has changed your life and your family's life, think about reaching outside your family to get help.
  • You may need help with household chores and errands.
  • Respite care can give your regular caregivers a much-needed break.
  • Counseling and support groups can help your family deal with the issues that cancer raises.
Most families find that being honest and open about the cancer, about the problems that arise, and about their feelings, helps them handle the changes that cancer causes.

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