Cancer does not discriminate: It affects people around the world, from all backgrounds and at all stages of their life; however, those who are at an advanced age may feel the effects of cancer even more than others, for a number of reasons.
Elderly cancer patients may be grappling with other expected conditions that naturally come with aging, but which may make fighting off the disease a bit more challenging. Those who are already impacted by mobility issues or memory challenges can be especially affected by the toll of cancer. Seniors often have smaller circles of support than younger patients as well, meaning fewer hands on deck and less day-to-day, practical support. Finances are also a consideration; many seniors have already retired or are unable to work and are on fixed incomes. Cancer can present a significant financial burden to even middle-aged, working adults so it’s to be expected that the condition will disproportionately impact elderly patients.
Cancer financial help is one avenue for assistance that loved ones of a senior patient can pursue. Programs like Life Credit’s Living Benefit Loans can connect seniors with the life insurance that they’ve likely paid into for decades, allowing them to use those funds to put up their best fight possible against the disease so they can truly enjoy their golden years. Many healthcare facilities also offer financial consultants, and cancer nonprofits—at both the national and local levels—provide financial resources for patients in need, which caregivers for elderly patients should explore as another means of cancer financial help.
Apart from finances, supporting a senior with cancer can involve altering one’s daily schedule to ensure the patient’s needs are met, such as driving him or her to appointments, making sure grocery shopping and other daily tasks are completed and creating an around-the-clock schedule of care among loved ones. Thankfully, many of today’s employers are recognizing the caregiving that many Americans are providing, including for ailing parents and other relatives, and flexible working arrangements are becoming more of the norm. Individual flexibility is also key when providing care for a senior cancer patient, as it can be difficult to predict when needs will change, so keeping that commitment to ongoing support at the forefront is essential to the patient’s success.