By Jane Jenkins, a freelance writer
More than 1.6 million new cases of cancer are diagnosed every year. When cancer patients hear their diagnosis, they know that a potential struggle lies ahead of them including surgery, treatment, and a change in lifestyle habits. If you’re living with a loved one who’s going through cancer, you can ensure that your home is a sanctuary for them. Research has found that one’s environment can have a large impact on mood, but a happy home environment is about more than having bright colors on the walls. Your loved one who’s been diagnosed with cancer will need privacy when they want to be left alone with their thoughts and a stress-free space where they can rest between treatments, for instance. Here are other things you can do to make them comfortable and happy.
Keep It Clean
Cleanliness is important for cancer patients, whose treatments can lower their immune systems. Clean floors, counters, and pay special attention to the bedroom. If your loved one spends lots of time in there, it should be spotless to prevent infection. Bedding should be washed in hot water once a week to kill dust mites. Mop the floor and make sure you use antibacterial household cleaners to kill germs.
It could also be a good idea for your loved one to get into the habit of kicking off shoes before entering the bedroom as any germs or pollen collected from the garden could end up in this room, where they can cause allergies. Allergic reactions are commonly reported with most chemotherapy medicines, so you want to avoid any triggers, such as dust and pollen.
Keep It Quiet
Many people who undergo cancer treatment experience sleep problems such as insomnia. It’s important to ensure quietness in the home as noise can create further stress by increasing one’s heart rate and blood pressure. Make sure your loved one’s bedroom is in an area of the house where there’s not a lot of noise from the road or neighbors as this will help them to relax. Cancer patients require lots of rest between radiation or chemotherapy treatments to regain their strength.
Make It Safe
You will need some important features to make your home safe and user-friendly for your loved one. Toilet grab bars that are mounted to the wall can make it easier for your loved one to lower and lift themselves up when they’re feeling weak or fatigued. Chairs in the shower can also prevent falls. Weakness and fatigue are common during cancer treatments, so you want to be sure that your loved one will be safe when walking around the house. Make sure that there aren’t any snags in the carpet that can trip them up. Place some chairs in risky spots, such as on the staircase landing or in the middle of a long passage, so that they can rest if they need to.
If your loved one is struggling with treatment side effects such as fatigue, having a resting place on or moving their bedroom to the ground floor of your home can help them avoid having to use staircases multiple times a day, which can be exhausting.
Boost Their Interaction With Nature
A lot of research has shown that just a few minutes of being in nature can decrease stress, anger and fear, while boosting one’s mood. If you don’t have a garden in which your loved one can walk and sit, make sure you bring more pictures of nature into the home. Even these have been shown to alleviate stress and boost feelings of wellness.
Pictures of nature can be good replacements for real plants if you don’t have a garden, or your loved one is receiving chemotherapy. Research has found that patients undergoing chemotherapy shouldn’t be around plants in the house. This is because indoor plants and flowers release mold into the air, which can cause infection.
Fill The Space With Love
It’s important that people feel that they can do the things they love in a space that allows them to enjoy this activity. For instance, if your loved one enjoys reading, a room with good lighting and a comfortable sofa can be a relaxing retreat for them. On the other hand, if they love to fix things, a workspace can be invaluable. Time to do what they love can provide a good distraction while providing a sense of normalcy.
Turning your home into a safe and comfortable sanctuary is important way to support your loved ones and allow them feel that they can relax, do things they love, and regain their energy in a healing place.