The ways to help bring encouragement to individuals with cancer are as followed:
Send Blank Cards with Notes of Encouragement & reminders that you are praying for them. You can even send a text or make a phone call to let them know you are praying for them and thinking about them. When calling make sure you let them know that you will be touching base with them shortly and then follow through.
When the person with cancer leaves a message, make sure you get back with them as fast as possible.
Check in with the caregiver and ask them what things are needed.
Visit the person who has cancer. Try to spend time with your friend with cancer. You will become a welcoming distraction! Cancer tends to cause the person suffering to become isolated.
How to Visit? Call before you visit. Be very understanding if you are not allowed to come visit when schedule. Physical demands of cancer can make a good day turn bad quickly. Visit the caregiver in order to give them encouragement and support. You can make arrangement to stay and allow the caregiver to get away for a couple hours and relax.
Your visits need to be short and regular. The person with cancer might be in a situation where they do not want to talk. Remember to start and finish your visit with a hug or handshake. This helps the person to not feel they are diseased. Make sure you talk about your next visit so the person with cancer knows they are not alone.
Bring snacks or something to eat so your visit does not impose on the caregiver.
Bring something to keep yourself busy in case the person falls asleep or decides to watch television.
Take time to enjoy a television show they enjoy, a movie, or even some music.
Keep up to date on the news and find a topic of interest and summarize it for them.
Concerning your conversation several things to keep in mind:
A lot of people just do not know what to say to someone with cancer. The most important to remember is not knowing what to say but that you there and willing to listen. Help your friend feel free to talk about anything they feel like discussing. During your conversations you can get an idea on how they feel. Remember, that during some of your visits the person just does not feel like talking and let them know that it is OK.
Gear the conversation to the person with cancer so they do not feel overwhelmed or feel guilty for not being able to talk. Guide the conversations to topics of interest to the person with cancer and help good feelings come from communicating. Ask their advice, opinions during your conversation so they feel active in your friendship together. Give honest compliments instead of asking them how they feel.
During the bad day for the person with cancer, allow them to be negative, withdrawn, or silent. Do not change the subject during this time.
Do not offer medical advice or your opinions on things like their treatment, diet, miracle cures, etc. Do not remind them of past negative behaviors that might be related to their illness.
Errands and Helping
Offer to help clean the house, do their laundry, cut their lawn, odd jobs around the house, go grocery shopping, pet-sit, care for their plants, take the kids to church, pick-up prescriptions….whatever is needed.
Ways for your Church to help
Get together with your church family and put together a box for anyone who has newly been identified with cancer and have one person deliver it. While the one person is there, they can ask if there is anything they need done. This person can stop in once a month through their treatment and up to 6 months after successful treatment. Bring back to the church the need and allow others to volunteer to fill the need.
One church locally identified their members “just ask” the individual if there is anything they can do to help them. If the person says “no”, then they already understand that it maybe a bad week for them. A week or two later, they ask the person again if there is anything they can do to help them. Allow yourself to be guided by the Spirit leading