Learning your elderly loved one is living with breast cancer is a life-changing moment. After this diagnosis, both your senior and you want to know as much as you possibly can so you can begin to prepare for the journey ahead. After this diagnosis is the time for both of you to ask questions so you can feel better prepared, more aware, and more confident as you move ahead in the way that is right for them.
Some questions to ask after your parent is diagnosed with breast cancer include:
- Is the cancer invasive or noninvasive?
- What does this mean, and how does it impact their prognosis?
- At what stage is the cancer?
- What does this mean?
- What types of treatment options are available?
- What types of treatment options are no longer available for your parent?
- What treatment would this particular doctor recommend for your senior?
- Why would they select this type of treatment?
- How should your parent prepare for their treatment?
- What type of care and support will your senior need during their treatment?
It is very important to understand that breast cancer is an extremely personal journey. Your aging parent might not be ready to make decisions immediately after diagnosis, and may need some time to think through this situation before they are ready to make any future moves.
It is important you are there for them, and encourage them to make the decisions that are best for them. This might mean getting a second opinion from a different doctor, or being willing to find another treatment center that is more likely to offer the type of treatment or management approach your senior prefers. Empower them to find out as much as possible about all available treatments and management options, and choose the one that is best for their health and their future.
Caring for a senior adult, particularly one who is living with a serious health issue such as breast cancer, can be very challenging. Their care needs go beyond just daily support, and you may find yourself more concerned about factors such as spreading germs. Elderly adults tend to have less effective immune systems than younger adults, and those who have serious health issues such as cancer have even more vulnerability.
Fortunately, home care can help. If you have been ill, have been caring for an ill child, or have otherwise been exposed to germs, you are at risk of spreading them to your parent. A home care provider can be there with your aging parent on a temporary basis to ensure they continue to receive the care they need while protecting them from illness.