Don’t Ask, Do Tell!

Stand Up 2 Cancer Caregiver tip.  

After a cancer diagnosis family and friends frequently feel powerless to help. It is difficult to know how to provide support to your loved one, especially when you may feel like you don’t know what to do or where to start. Stand Up 2 Cancer shares the suggestion that it may be helpful to make a list of things that you think you can do, based on your own availability and skills. Then you can reach out to your loved one with these suggestions. It can include providing rides, running errands, or bringing a book to read or music to listen to.  More suggestions can be found at and the list below:

Don’t Ask, Do Tell | Show That You Care

  • Make appointments
  • Save important doctor and clinic numbers to your loved one’s cellphone / make a notebook with numbers for the patient, caregivers and family members to use.
  • Go to appointments with themDon't Ask, Do Tell
  • Prepare a chemo care kit:
    • Bottled water
    • Sweaters, blankets, socks, layers, things to keep warm
    • A list of current medications
    • A cooler with ice, popsicles—or just bottled water (helps prevent mouth sores)
    • Sugarless candy
    • Chapstick
    • Toothbrush
    • V-neck or button up shirt for access to port (cotton)
    • Mad Libs, crosswords, trivia games, things to pass the time
    • Books, magazines, tablets
    • A selection of items that currently smell good to your loved one such as essential oil
  • Grocery shopping
  • Cook or arrange meal drop offs
    • Set up an online calendar for friends and family to sign up for meal deliveries
    • Adjust meal requests overtime as you better understand when meals are most needed
    • Remember that the sense of taste often changes during treatment. Friends delivering meals are always happy to hear what foods will be most appreciated
    • Request that food is delivered in dishes that do not require washing and returning
  • Write the thank you notes so your loved one does not have to
  • Babysitting
  • Arrange play dates or offer rides for children
  • Pet care (feed, walk, bathe, bring them to the vet)
  • House cleaning and maintenance
    • Consider arranging house cleaning while a loved one is at treatment
    • Create volunteer calendar for household and yard chores, putting out the trash for collection, etc.
    • Gather funds from friends and families to hire a cleaning service
    • Have friends and family wash and return folded laundry
    • Help with seasonal house maintenance like cleaning gutters, raking leaves, cutting grass.
  • Research support groups
  • Attend a support group
  • Pick up prescriptions
  • Take cars to fill up the gas tank or for maintenance



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