We all want to lend a hand when a friend or family member is ill and unable to tend to their daily needs without assistance. The usual question for me is what can I do to help out without getting in the way? If the person has been living independently prior to their illness, they usually don’t like to ask for help.
I’ve come up with my own list of ways to help let your friend or family member know that you are there for them.
1. Find out the best times to visit. The last thing you want to do is to disturb them when they are resting.
2. Ask if there is any one chore that they were doing daily before the illness that you can take over until they are up and around again.
3. Be a reliable presence in your friends’ life. Checking in regularly can be a huge comfort to someone who has had their life turned upside down by a medical issue.
4. Hire a manicurist/pedicurist to do a house call. Sending new soft & fluffy slippers with the manicurist is always a nice touch.
5. Providing meals is always a great help. The last thing someone who is ill wants to do is cook. If the person is homebound, reach out to other friends to help prepare and drop off meals.
6. Have a movie night. Bring a DVD, make some popcorn and watch a movie together.
7. While at the grocery store, call your friend to ask if there is anything they need you to pick up for them.
8. Offer to drive them to their doctor’s appointment.
9. Send notes and cards frequently. This lets your friend know they are often in your thoughts.
10. If they are able to get out, take them for a ride around the city.
11. If appropriate, bring humor and a light mood to them. Laughter can be a terrific medicine.
12. Let them know you admire their strength.
No situation is the same. Always remember, listen more and talk less. If after some time you notice that your friend is not progressing at home, you might want to suggest to them or a family member to look into skilled nursing assistance and or assisted living.
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