Your Emotional Wellbeing

People can experience a range of emotions from feeling angry to feeling anxious or very sad when they receive a diagnosis of cancer.

Health experts and older people told us that sometimes older people find it hard to talk about how they are feeling and their emotions; that talking about their emotional wellbeing and mental health did not come easily to them.

“Nobody offered support with my emotional and mental health. I think that everyone should be offered professional support because it’s been shown that 30% of people need this.”

Les, 85 years

Feelings of sadness can be hard to manage especially if you are isolated or rely on just a few people for company. Some of the Older people who helped develop OlderCan told us you can feel alone when you have cancer and this is a time when fears can emerge.

And some older people said that in hindsight it would have been good to talk openly about how they were feeling with a counsellor, social worker or trusted friend.

“Many aspects are important when you have cancer. You need to heal your mind, that’s important too.”

Marg, 80 years

Advice from older people was to try to have some purpose in your day. Having things to focus on is a good way to take your mind off the things that you may be worrying about. These can be things like gardening, time with friends and grandchildren or doing anything that you love to do.

You can find links to services and support for your emotional wellbeing in WeCan.

Eating fish and chips on the grass overlooking Port Phillip bay, that is our happy place. Looking ahead that is where we both would like our ashes to be scattered, its such an important place for us.

Older and Wiser participant

You may be interested to hear about the experiences of other older people. The older people with cancer in the following videos talk about the things that helped them to cope in the day-to-day:

Vivonne talks about the importance of diet and exercise for her wellbeing.
Bob talks about overcoming depression after bowel cancer treatment.

“The doctor, psychologist and my wife, the three of them have just got me all in one piece again…. and that is astounding.”

Bob, 76 years