Cancer is far more common in older adults than in younger adults. In fact, men over the age of 65 are approximately 22 times more likely to suffer from prostate cancer than younger adults, and approximately 60 percent of all new cases of all forms of cancer are found in senior adults.
As a family caregiver, these statistics can seem intimidating and overwhelming, and you might immediately think of everything that your parent can do to protect them from the direst of consequences of this disease. As you are considering this, however, it is important to keep in mind that your aging parent might not perceive their potential journey with cancer in the same way that you do. Talking through each element of this experience with your parent is vital to ensuring that you are all on the same page and that your parent gets the support, assistance, and care that is right for them.
What should you do first?
The first issue that you should talk to your parent about when it comes to cancer is whether they should be screened. Getting screenings for health complications and issues is one of the most important ways that you can be proactive about your parent’s health and well-being, and work together to make good choices about their health moving forward. To you, this might seem like just something that is done, a simple decision that your parent should not even have to think about. When it comes to cancer, however, it might not be that simple.
Getting screened for cancer is a very personal decision.
The purpose of this type of screening is to identify if your parent is coping with such a disease so that they can make decisions regarding treatment and management. For elderly adults, however, treatment may not be something that they are interested in pursuing.
Depending on their age, the type of cancer that they are facing, and their current health, the possible benefits of treatment may not outweigh the negative effects, and the potential for success may be low. For some seniors, this can lead to them deciding that they would rather not be screened.
Be open and honest with your senior.
It is important to talk to your senior about their feelings regarding getting screened for cancer and to be willing to listen to them and talk them through this decision so that you can be sure that they are making the choice that is right for them. Keep in mind that your parent might make a choice that is not the one that you would make, and it is extremely important that you are willing to be compassionate, supportive, and respectful.
Your goal as a family caregiver is to give them the highest quality of life possible as they age in place, and that means helping them whether they are seeking treatment or dealing with their cancer in another way.
How can an elderly home care service provider help?
If you have been considering ways that you can enhance your aging parent’s life and help them to live a lifestyle that is more fulfilling, engaged, and independent throughout their later years, now may be the ideal time for you to consider starting elder care for them. An elderly home care services provider can be with your aging parent on a schedule that is right not just for their needs, but also for the care that you are able to give them.
This means that they can stay as healthy, safe, comfortable, and happy as possible as they age in place, and you can feel confident that they are getting everything that they need both when you are able to be with them and when you are not.