Thanks to improvements and advancements in cancer treatment, people are living longer lives with cancer. This also means that there are more seniors living with cancer, and that number will continue to grow as our population ages. Seniors with cancer often have special considerations that need to be taken into account such as their strength and healing process. Additionally, in some cases, seniors may be experiencing other health concerns that impact cancer treatment, such as cognitive losses or dementia.
Most cancer patients choose to continue living at home throughout the course of their treatment. Some of the treatments, however, have side effects that impact the well-being and independence of patients. In determining a plan for treatment it is important the we take into consideration the whole person as well as the needs their family is able to meet for their loved one. Maintaining a high quality of life means we need to look after patients emotionally, spiritually, and socially. Continuing to live at home increases the likelihood of ongoing social connections with family members and friends in a comfortable and familiar setting.
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When family and friends are able to, they often will step up and help out during treatment. This help may include meal preparation, rides to and from treatment, and assistance with cleaning and shopping. Home health agencies, too, may help to provide some of the care such as light housekeeping, grooming and bathing so family and friends can spend time keeping company with their loved one. This type of in home care can help seniors stay in their homes, deal with the side effects of cancer treatment, and enjoy their time with friends and family.
Another level of in-home care can provide seniors with assistance related to their medication, especially those that require infusion or injections. A nurse can visit during treatment to witness the immediate side effects, during this time when they tend to be at their worst, and keep the doctor informed of concerns. When seniors are able to stay in their own home and retain their sense of independence and well-being. Given the risk of depression and other side effects, helping families to remain engaged with their loved ones can be an invaluable service.
Having assistance with cancer treatment for seniors provides family members with peace of mind. These days families are often spread out and adult children may find themselves struggling to provide for their aging parents and also care for their young children. There’s a reason the in-between generation is often referred to as the sandwich generation – they are caught between those they love at both ends of the spectrum and everyone needs their care. When it comes to treating cancer it is important to have someone available to administer and supervise treatments as prescribed.