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URMC / Wilmot Cancer Institute / News & Events / Dialogue Blog / November 2017 / Caregiving, holidays and the art of negotiation

Caregiving, holidays and the art of negotiation

Father and adult daughterHolidays and other big occasions come with traditions to uphold and expectations to meet.

Cancer can change all of that — leaving you and your loved ones to negotiate what to do when what you want and what’s realistic aren’t the same.

Talking about it is crucial, even though it may be uncomfortable, says Michelle Kettinger, LMSW, a social worker at Wilmot’s infusion center at Highland Hospital. 

“It’s not going to be one conversation and everything’s going to be resolved,” Kettinger says. “The first time may not go well, especially if the situation is new or has recently changed.”

So where do you begin? Kettinger offers a few suggestions:

Ask what is most important: Find out from your loved one with cancer what they most want to do, and use that as a starting point to figure out how to make it happen.

Balance hope with reality: Try to keep the focus on what can be done, not on what can’t. For the mom who’s always hosted the big family dinner or the uncle who has always gone hunting, the prospect of giving