CaringBridge families confirm that one of the most well-intended but non-helpful phrases heard during a health crisis is: “If you need anything, just call me.”
“I appreciate the gesture, but I’m just too overwhelmed to respond,” said a Minnesota wife and working mom of teen-agers who added “primary caregiver” to her job description upon her husband’s diagnosis of ALS.
But knowing that family and friends truly wish to be helpful, patients and caregivers who have used CaringBridge over the years offer these recommendations:
- Show Support on CaringBridge. Sign up to follow websites, and regularly post Comments to Journal updates. Also, check out the Ways to Help page, which directs you to help the family has requested, which may even include personal fundraising campaigns. (If they haven’t identified any Ways to Help, maybe offer a gentle nudge to do so in a Comment, if appropriate.)
- Depending on the time of year, mow the lawn, rake leaves, or shovel snow. The advantage with this kind of gift is that you don’t necessarily have to get permission – show up with your own tools and get to work!
- Drive children to and from school and after-school activities. Offer to host the kids after school to do homework and hang out with your own kids.
- Walk the family dog. Or clean the kitty litter box.
- Find out about any food allergies before delivering casseroles, and then plan to divvy up the dish into single-serving portions that can be frozen. Include reheating instructions on the containers. Use disposable containers whenever possible.
- Consider foods that don’t need to be refrigerated and don’t involve a lot of prep work. A refrigerator can fill up pretty fast if everyone starts dropping off casseroles. Fresh fruit and bakery breads and pastries can be welcome alternatives.
What Help Have You Found to be Helpful?
Everyone has a different experience; we’d love to hear what kinds of things you have found to be most helpful during a health journey. Please add your thoughts in the “Comment” section directly below.