Showing up for loved ones with breast cancer during COVID

The pandemic has plunged many lives into uncertainty on a very basic level. And supporting our loved ones, especially as they face a breast cancer diagnosis, treatment or recovery, is a brand-new challenge. But people are coming together in new ways, showing us that support can be and mean anything. So how can we provide support to those dealing with breast cancer during these uncertain times? Here are some tips to provide support safely.

check in regularly

Whether it’s via phone, Zoom, FaceTime, texting or socially distanced in a backyard, regular check-ins are important to maintain. Check in with your friend and ask what they need. Maybe they want an encouraging word, a daily meme or maybe they just need to know you’re there. If you want, get others involved as well. Establish a routine and put it on the calendar so that you both have something to look forward to.

ask how they want to be supported medically and physically

Communicate that you’re there for them not just as a friend, but as a resource. Ask if they want you to be present virtually for appointments, checkups or treatment to be a second set of ears. Maybe they need you to safely help with household chores like taking the trash and recycling to the curb, helping with yard work, or shopping for groceries. You could just be a listening ear for their concerns. Let them know that you want to help in any way you can if they’re feeling physically or mentally unwell.

maintain your own safe hygiene practices

Your loved one’s immune system is severely compromised during this time and it’s more important than ever that you maintain safe hygiene practices. Wear a mask wherever you go, use hand sanitizer and maintain social distancing. And of course, if you’re feeling unwell, skip any in-person contact until you’re back to being healthy.

give primary caregivers some love

They’re hard at work and also need those moments when you give them some of your love. Ask caregivers how they’re doing, see if there’s an opportunity to give them a break or complete errands for them if they need to be at their loved one’s side.

get creative

We could all use a little levity right now. And you know your relationship with your loved one better than anyone else. Get creative with how you show and give support. Maybe you send monthly motivational letters or creative care packages filled with inside jokes. Maybe it’s driveway chalk art or standing outside their window with a boombox serenading them with their favorite song. Do something that will put a smile on your face and theirs.

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