The days when doctors prescribed nothing but bed rest during cancer treatment are long gone. Modern research has revealed that excessive inactivity actually poses a grave danger to seniors with cancer.
Inactivity can reduce the benefits of medical treatments by leading to poor physical fitness, and being idle all day also increases your risk of anxiety and depression. This can lead to a vicious cycle as chronic fatigue further discourages you from getting out and living your life.
No doubt, the symptoms of mesothelioma and the side effects of the treatments you undergo will sap some of your energy and make certain activities more difficult. If you keep an open mind, however, you will find there are still ways to keep yourself active and make good use of your time.
Modify Your Favorite Activities
Don’t let go of your passions — just change your approach to them. For example, if exercise is an important part of your life, but you’re not quite up to running laps and lifting weights anymore, remember gentler activities such as swimming and yoga can still do wonders for your physical fitness.
If you enjoy working with your hands, you can focus on work that requires precision rather than strength. Pruning a little bonsai tree takes the same amount of skill as trimming a big hedge, just as constructing a model boat is often as complex a task as building a real one.
Make New Friends
The world is full of illuminating perspectives and colorful personalities, and discovering them is often as simple as striking up a conversation with the person sitting next to you. While the greatest joy and comfort in life comes from the bonds we share with longtime friends and family members, don’t ignore all the other opportunities for companionship you have.
As a senior with mesothelioma, it may be tough to keep in touch with your old social network, and younger family members may not always have time to spare or the ability to really relate to what you’re going through. However, many other seniors out there are in the same position you are, and they could benefit from making a new friend just as much as you.
Get the Help You Need
The foundation to living the life you want is receiving the support you need. Of the many ideals you can choose to live up to with the time you have left, “rugged independence” shouldn’t be one of them. Mesothelioma is a rare disease that requires specialized care, and the challenges that come with it will make many activities of daily living more difficult.
If maintaining your independence is important to you, consider joining an assisted living community. Professionals can provide you with transportation, nutritious meals and help with chores while still letting you enjoy your own living space. In addition, you will have ample opportunities to socialize with the other members of the community.
Also be mindful of specific financial resources available to many mesothelioma patients. Look into grants for travel and treatment expenses, as well as legal options for patients with asbestos-related illnesses.