Supporting Your Senior Parent During Cancer Testing

Posted: 8/8/2018 8:00 AM by Interim HealthCare

Medical tests can be scary, regardless of your age, or what you’ve been through in the past. As our parents get older and deal with an increasing array of health challenges, it can be pretty scary for caregivers, too. Cancer tests in particular can be stressful. The C-word is something none of us wants to hear, yet it is sadly a word that affects many families across the United States. This year, more than 1.7 million people will be diagnosed with cancer. 


Depending on the symptoms and challenges facing your senior parent, testing for cancer may actually require multiple tests. That can make an already-emotional and stressful process seem all-the-more overwhelming for your parent. But, while you may feel helpless during this situation, you actually have a great deal of control. YOU can help your parent feel less stressed, more supported, and can help Mom or Dad get through this stressful time. 

How to provide critical support to your senior parent during cancer testing 

Whether you have all the time in the world or want to provide support while juggling a myriad of other things, you can absolutely provide critical support to your senior parent during cancer testing:

Keep your loved one informed. 

The amount of information and level of detail before and during testing can be dizzying for anyone, but especially for someone who is facing a potential cancer diagnosis. Try to ensure you or another friend or family member accompanies Mom or Dad to all appointments. Be sure your loved one understands the details of any testing, and if there is confusion about the test, go over the process to help Mom or Dad feel more in control and less anxious.  

Be available to talk.

Make it clear to your loved one that you are available to talk about any and everything.  Whether it’s a frank conversation about what Mom or Dad is going through and the potential of a cancer diagnosis, or the stress of actual testing, be there to listen. Let your loved one express feelings, fears, and concerns. While you may be needed to offer insight or advice, you may just be needed to listen.

Help think and plan ahead.

Encourage your parent to start thinking about care and treatment decisions. Thinking about these issues now can be more effective and less stressful than thinking about them after diagnosis. Your parent can consider options with a clear mind, and start the decision-making process so it is faster and more efficient in case of a diagnosis.

Be positive.

Offer support and be sure to encourage Mom or Dad with the knowledge that a positive, rewarding lifestyle is still out there, even with a cancer diagnosis. Assure Mom or Dad of your love and support, and your commitment to helping as a caregiver in any situation. Help your parent to understand that disease does not define life, and that no matter what happens, good times still await.  

Consider senior care.

If a cancer diagnosis is made, life may become a bit topsy turvy for a time as Mom or Dad gets used to treatments and a “new normal.” In these instances, senior care can help your loved one (and you!) ease the burdens associated with such a stressful time. Senior care services can help your senior parent with household chores, administer medication, and so much more. 

What next? 

If senior home care services can help alleviate some of the stresses facing your family, contact your nearest Interim HealthCare location. We’re here to help.