Supporting your loved one

Tuesday 9 January 2018

Top Tips on supporting someone diagnosed with a brain tumour, as recommended by our Community.

A brain tumour can feel overwhelming, for the person diagnosed and their friends and family. Not knowing exactly how or when to help and support your loved one through this time can be hard.

So, our community has helped us create some top tips that might come in handy during those times you might feel helpless or when you're just not sure where to start.

  • Treat them as the same friend they were before the diagnosis:
    It can seem hard at first but keeping 'normality' in your relationship can be important to them.
  • Sometimes it can help to just listen:
    Sometimes, just providing a shoulder to cry on and a listening ear is enough. Allowing someone to vent, without giving advice or trying to understand when sometimes, you just can't, can make the world of difference.
  • Ask how you can help:
    Everyone experiences a brain tumour diagnosis differently so talk to them and find out exactly what they would need.
  • Be specific when offering help:
    Whilst you may know that 'let me know if I can help' means you are there for anything, the person hearing it may be worried or unsure to ask for something specific. Try instead 'if you need someone to come to your appointments, I'm happy to help' or 'if you'd like me to come over and do some housework for you, or cook, I'd be glad to'. Giving specific offers of help can feel easier to accept.
  • Remember treatment dates or big appointments and contact them to know you are thinking of them:
    Not only does this remind your friend/family member that you're thinking of them and that you care, but it also provides support or allows you to offer help such as a lift to the appointment, or a hand to hold for support.
  • Never question if your friend is exaggerating their pain level:
    Although you may unintentionally question their pain level 'is it really that bad?', it's important to consider how this may feel to the person diagnosed. Instead, ask how you can help ease their pain, or try and take their mind off it.
  • Say something rather than nothing:
    A brain tumour is incredibly isolating, and even if there's nothing you can say to make it better, be honest or ask what you could do to help and support them. And remember, just being there says a lot.
  • Don't be afraid to use appropriate humour:
    In the right context people can find humour refreshing or relieving. One person in our community mentioned their friend would send a funny text each day to make them laugh, giving them something to look forward to and laugh about each day.