Covid-19’s impact is being felt across the entire world. While the majority of those who contract the virus will experience mild symptoms, cancer patients and those who are immunocompromised are at a high risk of becoming seriously ill. To protect our friends and family members who are at high-risk, we have enacted social distancing – to physically remain separated so as not to spread the virus. When we must keep our distance, how can we still support our friends and family members who are suffering from cancer and other health issues? Here are some ideas to safely support someone facing cancer.
Social distancing can have the side effect of isolation and loneliness. Thanks to technology, staying connected is easier than ever. Having digital, face-to-face conversation using many free apps and platforms available is a great way to keep spirits up and stay connected. You can even have multiple people join the same call making it easy to continue family dinners or game nights with friends. If patients have to attend in-person appointments or procedures, you can provide support through a video call. If you are a caregiver, this is a great way to ask the care team any questions you may have.
Those who are immunocompromised are dealing with the stress and fear of exposing themself to the virus while trying to take care of their basic needs. Offering to run errands, such as picking up groceries and medications, or picking up mail can significantly reduce their risk of exposure. Cancer patients may also need help with technology. While setting up a telemedicine visit may seem easy for tech-savvy, another person may not have the knowledge or equipment to access their visits successfully. Offer to lend your (sanitized) equipment and/or help them learn how to use it. Other ways to help include:
- Keeping track of appointments, health insurance documents, and medical bills. Help organize tasks and visits to remove stress off your loved one.
- Creating a schedule with family, neighbors, or friends to assist with transportation, yardwork, and meal preparations.
Make a Care Package
Care packages are a great way to show your love for somebody while keeping your distance. Some ideas for a care package are:
- Warm and cozy blankets and socks. Hospitals can be very cold, these will keep your loved one comfortable if they are receiving chemotherapy.
- Lip balms and moisturizers to help relieve dry skin.
- Favorite snacks
- Entertainment items such as books, movies, word puzzles, card games, etc. Self-isolating and social distancing can make the days seem endless, these items will put a smile on your loved ones face and help pass the time.
Keep Them Safe
Self-isolation is necessary for those who are immunocompromised. Any help and support you are providing needs to be contactless unless absolutely necessary. If you do need to come inside or interact in person with someone facing cancer, take precautions. Wash your hands thoroughly before your visit, use soap and hot water and make sure you are washing your hands for at least 20 seconds. You and your loved one both should be wearing masks or some type of face covering. Before leaving, you should sanitize door knobs and other surfaces you have come in contact with. If you have developed a cough or other symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how mild, self-isolate and strictly supported remotely. Be mindful and take extra measures to protect both yourself and your loved one.