How to Support Your Loved One with Lung Cancer
As the caregiver of someone with lung cancer, you are focused on your loved one's needs and well-being. It's often easy to forget that caregivers have needs too, and balancing your loved one's needs with your own can be difficult. By seeking support and giving attention to your own health, you can keep well and even be a better caregiver.
Taking care of your own health also helps keep your loved one healthy. Stay up to date on your flu and pneumonia vaccinations, try to eat right and exercise, and make sure you get enough sleep.
Lean on Others
Most people want to help you and your family—they just don't know how. Take advantage of the support people offer so you can get a break from caregiving. Ask people to drop off meals, assist with errands or even just spend some time sitting with your loved one so you can enjoy some personal time. Use tools like the Lung Association's Caregiving Community to update your loved ones and organize their help.
Be Your Loved One's Eyes and Ears
Your loved one might feel too overwhelmed during doctors' appointments to ask the right questions and understand everything the doctor says. As a caregiver, your role in helping the patient stay organized is invaluable. Take good notes, ask questions and even request an appointment just for you and the doctor if there are things you'd like to discuss outside of the normal appointment time.
Encourage Your Loved One to Seek Palliative Care
Palliative care, also sometimes known as supportive care, helps patients feel their best, physically and emotionally, during treatment. It's often misunderstood as care only given at the end of life, but palliative care is appropriate, and often recommended, at the start of treatment.
Think about the Future
Many people spend all of their energy just trying to stay well during treatment. They might not be thinking about what needs to happen so they can continue to get the care they need and want, such as filling out an advance directive. Palliative care teams can help with this, but the caregiver can also begin to have important conversations with their loved one about the future so that decisions about the patient's well-being are made in advance.
Ask the Expert: Making Meaning of Your DiagnosisLearn more
Palliative Care WorksheetDownload
Life Planning WorksheetDownload
Navigating Lung Cancer: Stories of SupportLearn more
Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed November 19, 2017.