What Friends & Family Can Do To Help

What Friends & Family Can Do To Help

Sometimes it is a challenge to figure out just what we need from family and friends to help us navigate through the cancer experience.  Our needs change over time and what we need may not be a fit with what someone can provide. Most importantly, we need to acknowledge the need for help and then ask for it!

Thinking about asking for help:

  • Take an honest look at your day to day activities and “to do” list and decide what you really want to hold onto and what you can allow others to help with. Accepting assistance and help will require turning over some control, so what can you live with if it’s not done exactly the same way you would do it? This is a very personal inventory and will be unique to each situation.
  • Ask yourself, what benefit there would be, in terms of conserving your own time and energy, that could then be invested in other priorities or more enjoyable activities if you were to have assistance.

Asking and accepting help:

  • Think about WHO is best suited to help you. For instance, if it would be helpful to have a meal or two a week, you are probably better off asking your neighbor who loves to cook (and has offered repeatedly) rather than your daughter who is working full-time and raising 2 young children.
  • Spread the wealth around. Even though it is tempting to ask for assistance from the same person you’ve become comfortable with, you probably need more than just 1-2 people you can consistently rely on.
  • Make a list of the people who have offered assistance and think about what you could use some help with that would be a good fit for them. Take a deep breath, pick up the phone and text, email or call them. You can simply say, “you have generously offered a few times to help me out, I am wondering if you might be available to give me a ride to the doctor next Friday.” Or “I would love to have some help completing some insurance forms and organizing my bills, would you be able to do that with me?”
  • Be ready for offers of assistance! Most people are quite sincere when they offer help, they just don’t know what you need help with. When people say, “let me know if you need anything,” instead of replying, “I will,” try saying, “well, actually I could use some help with my yard work,” or, “how would you feel about helping me with some laundry?”
  • On the flip side, you do not have to accept offers of help from people you are not comfortable with NO MATTER how persistent they are in offering to assist you!
  • Enlist the help of someone in your life who is a born organizer. There are online organizations and platforms that offer AMAZING tools to organize help and support for people when they need it most.  All you need is to ask someone (or a couple of people) in your life to get the ball rolling and act as coordinators. These programs relieve you of having to repeatedly ask for help. Caring Bridge and Lotsa Helping Hands are two websites to explore.

There is no greater gift you can give those you love and care about than allowing them to help you!

Cancer Lifeline’s FREE Programs and Services for CANCER PATIENTS, SURVIVORS, and CAREGIVERS are a great way to help you incorporate these tips/strategies into your life!

  • Register to Join Support Groups:Professionally facilitated support groups provide a safe place to connect with others in similar situations. Visit our Support Groups Page for more information. Email Pamela Krueger or call 206-832-1271
  • Call the Lifeline or connect through Lifeline chat: Need someone to listen and help you sort out your feelings? Available Monday ‒ Friday, 9 am‒5 pm PST. Call 206.297.2500 or click the green “We are here to listen” button on our website.
  • Access Cancer Lifeline’s Cancer Specific Counseling and Family Support Programs: Email Pamela Krueger or call 206-832-1271
  • Access Cancer Lifeline’s Therapist Referral Program: For clients not eligible for our counseling services or who need assistance locating a therapist with experience supporting people affected by cancer; we offer a free referral service. Email Pamela Krueger or call 206-832-1271