Caring for a Cancer Patient during the Holidays


With the advances in cancer treatment leading to shorter hospital stays, more people are being cared for at home by loved ones. Patients and family members often experience anxiety, fear, uncertainty, anger, and sadness. These emotions and stress tend to run even higher around the holidays.

The holiday season seems like the worst time of the year to be battling cancer. It may be hard to focus on the cheerful holiday family traditions usually happening at this time. If you are caring for a loved one this holiday season try these tips to help you both stay in good spirits:

  • Talk openly with your loved one about stress, fears & their concerns
  • Listen to your loved one’s feelings and show your support
  • Give yourself permission to laugh, cry, and express your emotions
  • Take care of yourself by eating regularly and exercising to relive stress
  • Treat yourself & your loved one to dinner, a movie, or do another activity they enjoy
  • Enlist support for holiday cooking and clean up
  • Say no to holiday events that will tire you or your loved one out
  • Don’t pressure yourself to do it all
  • Plan ahead and set aside specific days and times to accomplish certain tasks
  • Make plans to get together with friends, family & co-workers over the holiday
  • Try shopping online to avoid the holiday crowds
  • Start new holiday traditions with family & friends

For more information about Coping with Cancer and Caregiving, visit the American Cancer Society.