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6 Ways Older Adults Can Manage Cancer

By Home Care Assistance, 9:00 am on

Even though cancer can affect people of all ages, this disease is fairly common among people who are over the age of 60. Depending on what type of cancer your loved one has, he or she might benefit from making a number of lifestyle changes. These lifestyle changes can boost your loved one’s physical health and may also have a positive impact on his or her emotional wellbeing. 

If your aging loved one needs help managing everyday tasks or encouragement to adopt healthier lifestyle choices, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care in Vancouver. Our professional caregivers are available around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives. Here are 6 ways aging adults can manage cancer.

1. Normalize the Sleep Schedule

Seniors who have cancer need to get as much sleep as possible to keep their bodies healthy and their immune systems strong. If your loved one has started cancer treatments, he or she might need as much as 10 hours of sleep every night. Seniors who have difficulty sleeping should speak with a doctor about safe and natural sleep aids such as melatonin.

2. Stay Active

Light exercise can boost the immune system and the ability to fight infections. The Canadian Cancer Society suggests seniors with cancer should try to get at least 15 minutes of exercise every day. Before exercising, your loved one should first speak with an oncologist to make sure he or she is healthy enough for physical activities. 

3. Get Organized

Cancer treatments can be complex, and seniors may soon start forgetting appointments and medications. Immediately following a cancer diagnosis, your loved one should create a folder that contains all of the information regarding the disease such as treatments received, prescribed medications, the initial diagnosis, allergies, and information on his or her general health. If your loved one changes doctors or meets with a specialist, he or she can use this folder to make the transition easier. 

4. Contact a Therapist

Following a cancer diagnosis, your loved one may experience a wide variety of emotions, including anger and denial. To manage these emotions, your loved one might need to speak with a specialist who can help him or her remain calm and take control of negative thoughts. Many seniors with cancer also benefit from joining support groups for those who have been diagnosed with long-term diseases. 

5. Start Eating Nutrient-Dense Foods

Loss of appetite is common among seniors with cancer, and those who don’t get enough to eat will exacerbate many of the symptoms they are experiencing. Your loved one’s meals should be as nutrient-dense as possible with few additives or preservatives. Seniors who are having a difficult time eating larger meals should try protein shakes or smoothies as an alternative. 

If your loved one needs help maintaining healthy habits and accomplishing daily tasks, a Vancouver home caregiver from Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers are expertly trained to provide mental and social stimulation, assist with exercise, prepare nutritious meals, and much more.

6. Eliminate Carcinogens from the Environment

Being exposed to carcinogens after a cancer diagnosis can actually speed up the development of the disease. Seniors who have been diagnosed with cancer should immediately stop smoking and ask their loved ones to not smoke around them. They should also go through all of the products in their home to make sure none contain common carcinogens such as formaldehyde, asbestos, talc, and crystalline silica.

Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Vancouver, BC, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. To create a customized care plan for your elderly loved one, get in touch with one of our Case Managers at 778-279-3634.