Cancer & Caregiving

Five Ways to Make Caregiving on Mother’s Day a Special Occasion

Written By:
May 08, 2013
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Written By: Faith Franz,
May 8, 2013

It’s heartbreaking to watch a parent cope with mesothelioma (or any illness, for that matter). Some days, as you shoulder caregiving duties, your schedule feels a bit monotonous — if not set in stone. But this Mother’s Day, try adapting your caregiving plan to help your mother feel extra special.

1. Help her get her mind off treatment.

A terminal cancer diagnosis is life-shattering. There’s a good chance that from the moment she got the news from her doctor, her diagnosis has been, at least to some degree, on her mind. To help her relax, consider planning a diversion. The following options can help her enjoy a carefree day with you (without demanding too much from her physically):

  • Tickets to a movie, play or concert
  • Brunch at a relaxing outdoor café
  • An afternoon at a local teahouse
  • A group instruction session for a hobby like cooking, pottery or painting

Most of these can be had for under $50, a small price to pay for a reprieve from daily worries.

2. Gift her with things she can actually use.

Flowers and chocolates are always thoughtful, but a bit trite. This year, go beyond the basic Hallmark gifts with something she can actually use.

If her chemotherapy medications are making her struggle with nausea, assemble a gift basket with soothing teas, gourmet crackers and ginger candies. If she’s mentioned feeling fatigued, adopt a relaxation theme, an eye mask and lavender aromatherapy candles may help her rest. Take her to the farmer’s market to stock her up on healthy fruits and vegetables.

Want to take it one step further? Get her a gift card for her favorite complementary therapies. Prepay for yoga or massage therapy to help her unwind and reap physical benefits.

3. Cook her favorite meal and freeze leftovers for when she’s too wiped to cook.

This truly is the gift that keeps on giving. Meals like soups and casseroles freeze easily, and she’ll love having leftovers ready to defrost whenever she’s feeling drained from treatment.

Not sure what to make? Our recipe for now-and-later energy bowls is simple, versatile and full of cancer-fighting nutrients. For a few more ideas, check out this Cooking Light recipe roundup that features 17 terrific freezable recipes.

4. Take the time for a heart-to-heart.

When life gets hectic, it’s not always possible to sit down for a cup of tea and a long conversation. Take Mother’s Day as a precious chance to relax, enjoy your mom’s company and find out how she’s really handling the emotional side of her diagnosis.

Mothers are used to reassuring their children, but not the other way around. It can feel shameful to admit they are feeling anxious about the future. To help her feel more comfortable opening up, try this simple conversation starter:

“Mom, I love you, and you know I want to see you get better. Your family is here for you. Are there any things that you’re dealing with that I can help with?”

Let her talk, and don’t probe. If there’s anything she’s ready to share, she will.

5. Get the whole family involved.

Many times, one family member shoulders most, if not all, of the caregiving duties. If this is the case with your family, use this time to get everyone together to pitch in.

If you provide care for your mother in her house, ask her permission to have the entire family over for a meal. While they’re there, ask them to look for small ways to help. If everyone covers something small, like dishes or yardwork, she’ll get to enjoy the days following Mother’s Day without any household duties adding to her stress. And of course, she’ll cherish the time with her support system of loved ones!

Does your family have any Mother’s Day traditions? If so, do you have plans to adapt them to fit into your caregiving routine? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook.

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