I was just a sponsor for a local cancer research fundraiser this weekend and it got me thinking about how best to help a person out who is ill. Below are my suggestions. Please leave comments about:
How you supported a person who was ill? or
What someone did for you when you were sick that helped?
- Don't say, "Let me know if there is anything I can do for you." When you are sick it is hard to think of specific things you need. It is even harder to ask someone to do these things.
Instead think about what needs the person has, and offer to do a specific task.
a) If a family needs meals set up an online dinner schedule where others from your community can volunteer to cook one night for the family. We did this in my town for a family of 6 and it was quiet successful.
b) Ask the person what day you can come by to do some house cleaning for her?
c) Offer to drive her to a doctor's appointment and if you have the time offer to stay with her after a treatment.
d) If the person has a pet offer to take care of it. Maybe feed, board, or walk it if it is a dog.
- Make yourself available to just spend time with the person. I find this especially important when someone is elderly. When I was in college I volunteered as a Visiting Neighbor in NYC. Sometimes I would shop or bring a person to a doctor's appointment, but more often then not I would just sit with her and listen to whatever she needed to talk about. We all need to be heard, and being available to listen is a precious gift to a sick person.
- Depending on how close you are to a person, hug or hold their hand. Again especially with the elderly, I find they are in real need of physical touch. Sometimes a person who is ill doesn't feel like chatting, but having someone hold their hand can be the most soothing thing.