When someone you care about is diagnosed with cancer, you want to help in any way you can. But when you live far away, it’s hard to know how. While you might not be there to lend a hand in person, there’s a lot you can do to support a loved one in their fight against cancer — especially when you have technology to help!
Hire Housekeeping and Lawncare Pros
Little tasks like mowing the lawn and vacuuming the floors become exhausting during cancer treatment. Over time, a cancer patient’s house and lawn may deteriorate to the point that it becomes a constant reminder of their illness.
Keeping your loved one’s home in good shape goes a long way to improving their mental well-being, but you can’t exactly pick up a broom from hundreds of miles away. Instead, you can screen and hire professionals online who can do it for you. In addition to housekeeping and lawn services, considering hiring help for these big tasks:
Irrigation: Watering the lawn is the last thing on a cancer patient’s mind. Make it easy for your loved one to keep their lawn lush and green by hiring an irrigation professional to install a sprinkler system (typically costs $3,000 - $4,000).
Annual lawn maintenance: Spring lawn care affects how a yard looks year-round. Before fertilizing, hire a landscape service for lawn aeration. At an average cost of $83 - $201 in Charlotte, this is an inexpensive job with a big impact.
New plantings: Do you want to add some cheer to your loved one’s life? Hiring a gardening service to install annual flowers in garden beds is a thoughtful way to put a smile on a friend’s face.
Pitch in for Childcare
A parent’s cancer diagnosis can throw a wrench in a family’s childcare plans, especially if it’s a stay-at-home parent who is ill. Constant medical appointments and disabling side effects limit a person’s ability to parent during cancer treatment, and many parents with cancer find themselves feeling guilty for how their illness affects their kids.
You can help maintain a sense of normalcy for a loved one’s children and alleviate some of that guilt by contributing to childcare. That may mean pitching in on the daycare bill via a crowdfunding campaign, searching for a trustworthy babysitter online (sitters charge $16.75 per hour on average depending on your location), or researching the best day camps in your loved one’s community. Then, use apps to coordinate carpools with trusted parents in your loved one’s circle to take one more thing off their to-do list.
Stay In Touch
Sometimes the most helpful thing you can do is to be a friendly face. And with video-chatting apps like FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom, you can do just that no matter where you are! Regular video calls let you stay up-to-date on your loved one’s treatment, find out what type of help they need, and offer a distraction when your friend wants to talk about anything but cancer.
Some cancer patients find it overwhelming to keep everyone updated on their health. Technology can help there, too. The Cancer Support Community’s MyLifeLine.org offers a platform where cancer patients can provide updates to family and friends so they don’t have to repeat difficult conversations. MyLifeLine also offers educational resources and discussion boards where both patients and their caregivers can find support.
It’s not easy knowing a loved one needs your support and you’re not there to provide it. But with tools like these, distance doesn’t have to stop you from supporting a loved one through their cancer journey. Whether you want to offer a helping hand, lend an ear, or alleviate a little bit of financial stress, these tools help you be a great friend to someone with cancer.
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