HealthTree Logo
search more_vert
person Sign In / Create Account
How to Truly Help Myeloma Caregivers and What to Possibly Avoid
Posted: Feb 15, 2024
How to Truly Help Myeloma Caregivers and What to Possibly Avoid  image

Last week, I hosted a powerful webinar in which myeloma caregivers shared their experiences and brainstormed ways that their communities can support them in effective ways. 

You can watch the recording and/or read the ideas below to learn how you can support myeloma caregivers and what to think twice about before doing. 

Caregivers, share this article with your loved ones so they know how they can help! 

Ways to Help

Unspoken Simple Tasks 

Sometimes, the most meaningful acts of service include simple actions that caregivers weren't even aware they needed. 

These could include: 

  • Bringing in/out the trash or recycling bins on trash day 
  • Shoveling 
  • Bringing gift cards (or when requested, food) 
  • Random Culvers Custard (or other treat) dropoffs to let you know you were thinking of them 
  • Mowing the lawn

Pre-Arranged Tasks 

If you know of a loved one who is taking care of a loved one with myeloma or another cancer, consider offering to do one of these pre-arranged tasks. 

  • Rides to treatment
  • Errands/chores
  • Sunshine Basket (care baskets with crosswords, hygiene products, snacks, etc. for hospital stays)
  • Freezer/Crockpot Meals 
  • Take Care of Pets 
  • Pick up prescriptions
  • Sign up for UPS/FedEx deliveries requiring signatures 
  • Make hotel and flight reservations
    • Negotiate price with airline due to "medical flight" status 
    • Search Financial Resources to see what they can cover for travel 
  • Help in resolving insurance issues 

Perhaps one of the most important things that you can do for caregivers is arrange time for them to take care of themselves. Ask if you can spend time with the myeloma patient so that they can participate in activities such as: 

  • Nail appointments 
  • Hair/spa appointments 
  • Walks or other forms of exercise
  • Tubs 
  • Movie 

Spiritual Check-ins 

If appropriate and applicable, you might want to consider checking in with your friends and family who are caregivers and ask how they are doing spiritually. Be careful not to come off as condescending and be sensitive to the fact that some people might be going through a faith crisis after being diagnosed with cancer. 

You could consider: 

  • Checking in with people from your religious circle 
  • Sharing you are praying for them and ask if there are any specific prayer requests they have 
  • Share inspiring and comforting scriptures to remind them they are not alone 

Mental Health Check-ins

Check in with your loved caregivers to make sure they are doing ok mentally and emotionally. Caregiving can be a lonely, draining task even when the caregiver has a positive attitude. Knowing you have a strong support system who is checking in on you is extremely helpful. 

Consider sharing the following: 

  • Share encouraging words 
  • Validation of emotions- letting the caregiver know it's ok to feel the way they feel 
  • Keep them included- even if they're not available, keep inviting them to book clubs, parties, dinners, and get-togethers so they feel included 
  • Care plan- create checklists for them to make sure they are taking care of themselves- keep them accountable for their own health in a supportive way. 
  • Be an ear to vent to 
  • Connect with a HealthTree Caregiver Coach
  • Remember important days and “celebrate” or acknowledge them 
  • Do a non-cancer activity together
    • Stream a movie, craft, play games, etc. 
  • Shared caregiving responsibilities 
    • Loved ones taking “shifts” to care for patients in/out of the hospital

Think Twice Before Doing This

While we know that you have good intentions, you may want to think twice before doing the following when trying to help caregivers: 

  • Pushing food or delivering food without asking 
  • Sharing unwanted/unasked-for medical advice 
  • Sharing doubt about diagnosis 
  • Sharing horror stories about diagnosis or other sicknesses/cancers

When in doubt, ask the caregiver that you would like to help and ask what would be most helpful. Come up with ideas to help and ask them if they would feel comfortable with that in their lives at this time. 

While improving the quality of life of myeloma patients is important, let's also work to improve the lives of myeloma caregivers. 

The author Audrey Burton-Bethke

about the author
Audrey Burton-Bethke

Audrey is a content writer and editor for the HealthTree Foundation. She originally joined the HealthTree Foundation in 2020. Audrey loves spending time with her supportive husband, energetic four-year-old, and new baby. 

Get the latest thought leadership on Multiple Myeloma delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to the weekly "HealthTree Community for Multiple Myeloma Newsletter" for Multiple Myeloma news, life with Multiple Myeloma stories, Multiple Myeloma clinical trials, Multiple Myeloma 101 articles and events with Multiple Myeloma experts.

Thanks to our HealthTree Community for Multiple Myeloma Sponsors:

Johnson and Johnson
Bristol Myers Squibb

Follow Us

facebook instagram linkedin tiktok youtube