Holidays and special occasions are often thought of as times to celebrate traditions and create lasting memories with friends and family.
For caregivers of people with cancer, however, it can be challenging to balance caregiving responsibilities while preparing for an upcoming holiday or special occasion. But by planning ahead, caregivers and their loved ones can find ways to get the most out of special events.
Here are some tips for caregiving for a loved one with cancer during holidays and special occasions:
- Talk to your health care team about upcoming special events. They may be flexible about appointments in order to accommodate travel or other needs.
- Adjust your expectations. Consider if an upcoming event may place too much of a strain on you or your loved one. For example, caregivers who traditionally host a holiday celebration at their home may decide to invite fewer guests this year, or not host the event at all.
- Talk with your loved one about what the special occasion means to him or her. An upcoming holiday could have a new meaning for someone who is going through cancer treatment. Ask your loved one how he or she would like to celebrate, and then try to honor those wishes.
- Establish new traditions. Caregivers who usually cook holiday meals, for example, may decide to order the meal from a restaurant or caterer. Or, they could ask a friend or loved one to assist them with the cooking this year.
- Enjoy special moments. Try to focus on new traditions that have been established, rather than dwelling on how cancer has changed a holiday or special occasion.
Read our fact sheet, “Caregiving During Holidays and Special Occasions,” for more tips on how to make the most of holidays while caring for a loved one with cancer.
Leading experts in caring for patients and caregivers answered listeners’ questions during our Connect Education Workshop, “For Caregivers: Coping with a Loved One’s Cancer During the Holidays.” Listen to the workshop.
People who have been diagnosed with cancer may feel more out of step, sad, or anxious around holidays and special occasions. The professional oncology social workers at CancerCare provide free counseling to help people cope with the difficult emotions holidays can bring. Call 800-813-HOPE (4673) to speak with a professional oncology social worker.
Browse all of CancerCare’s resources that address holidays and special occasions.