Five Ways to Support Loved Ones With Cancer During this Difficult Holiday Season

  • The holiday season is often filled with joy and love, and historically, it is a time shared with family and friends. This year however, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise, we all need to do our part by practicing social distancing. This is especially important for our loved ones who are facing a cancer diagnosis.

    In the midst of cancer treatment, many patients and their caregivers feel isolated. These feelings can intensify during the holiday season, and it’s especially common this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While you may not be able to be physically close with your loved ones, there are many ways you can check in with them and their caregivers, be a helpful part of their day-to-day routine, and make a difference during this difficult time.

    Below are a few ways you can safely reach out and support those facing cancer during the holidays this year:

    • Provide Meals – Take the pressure off primary caregivers and organize a meal train with other loved ones. You can provide meals or gift cards to your loved one’s favorite restaurants and drop them at the door or send them by mail. It’s a good idea to ask about special diets or favorite foods and practice proper hygiene and distancing when delivering.
    • Add Some Holiday Spirit – Spruce up their surroundings this holiday season by offering to pick up festive decorations, wrap gifts, or pick up presents at a local store. You could even surprise them by decorating the outside of their home with lights or other holiday décor. These small touches can bring so much joy and make a big difference.
    • Make Virtual Connections – You could offer to remotely watch a holiday movie together or send an e-card or a personalized video to someone who is in the hospital and can’t receive physical gifts. A standing appointment via phone or video chat can break up the day and give them something to look forward to.
    • Involve Family and Friends – Reach out to family and friends and suggest that they send cards or small gifts. Receiving something in the mail unexpectedly can change someone’s day, especially if it is a note from someone they love.
    • Share Hobbies – Maybe your loved one loves to read. If so, you could start a book club. Or, if they love music, getting them tickets to a virtual concert would be a great idea. You can identify something you both love and find a way to enjoy it together virtually!

    It’s hard being in isolation during a pandemic, and it’s even harder during the holidays. This year more than ever before, it’s important to keep in touch with your loved ones and let them know that you are available. And, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when it comes to letting them know you care!