10 Ways to Help During a Health Crisis

ways to help

CaringBridge families confirm that one of the most well-intended but unhelpful 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 teenagers 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:

1. 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 any ways to help that the family has requested. It may even include a link to a personal fundraising campaign where you can help the family financially.

2. Help Out Around the House

When health needs are top priority, taking care of the house might fall to the wayside. Volunteering to vacuum, mop, do dishes/laundry and other household chores takes away a massive burden. Depending on the time of year, you can also 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. Home should feel like a safe haven during troubled times and your help will make that happen.

3. Take Over Carpool Duty

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. This will offer peace of mind to parents knowing their children are taken care of.

4. Be on Pet Patrol

In a crisis, taking care of pets can add to an already stressful situation. Offering to be on pet duty is an excellent way to offer help. Walk the family dog or clean the kitty litter box. Offer to pet-sit for a few days. You’ll be helping your loved ones while also getting to spend time with a fluffy friend – it’s a win-win.

5. Bring Food

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.

Important: 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.

6. Fill Up the Tank

Sometimes it’s the little things we don’t think about that can be the most helpful. One way to offer assistance is by filling up your loved one’s tank with gas. It’s a small price to pay for saving them that time and energy.

7. Run Everyday Errands

All the little details that make up our lives take time. Ask what needs to be done for the week and take over. Some examples include:

  • Running to the post office
  • Going to the bank
  • Picking up groceries
  • Oil changes
  • Drugstore trips

The less your loved one stresses about mundane tasks, the better.

8. Give the Gift of Money

It’s a well-known fact that healthcare isn’t cheap. Monetary assistance goes a long way when trying to cover large medical bills. If you feel uncomfortable handing over cash, try putting it in envelopes with labels like “Hospital Bills,” “Parking” or “Family Dinner.” This puts more emotion into the gift and shows that you think about their needs.

9. Bring Paper Products

Bringing over disposable goods like paper plates, cups, napkins, plastic resealable bags, garbage bags and tissues reduces the need to do dishes or take extra runs to the store.

10. Be There for Them

During health crises, there is so much uncertainty. One of the kindest things you can do for your loved ones is to be a constant in their lives. Knowing they have someone they can always count on will make them feel loved and take some of the burden off their shoulders.

Check out some additional ways you can show support to someone in the hospital.

What 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.

Comments (83)

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Kay Mcquade Jun 08, 2019 6:12pm
Ask the caregiver how they are doing, then listen. It is very hard for the patient to watch the caregiver suffer and not be able to help. This is especially true for mother's watching adult children struggle. Caregivers need care too.
katheryn farley May 28, 2019 4:42pm
i have congestive heart failure and just was informed i have 3 new blockages in the electrical part of my heart my faimly dont talk to me the people i know just dont have time for anything because of thier own corruption in there life i love god hes who i have tthen today i run across this webpage im hoping to find new friends for support to be with me or just to talk to thank you for making this possable katheryn farley
Sue Apr 14, 2019 1:38pm
I visited a friend whose husband was being treated for cancer. She had a very supportive church who helped them in so many ways including meals. They had a schedule but other friends brought things too. I noticed her fridge was full to the brim with leftovers. I asked if I could clean her fridge. Lots had become science experiments in the back. I also made sure to use soap to clean off the shelves, walls, drawers and door pockets so no germs were left growing there (Germs very bad for chemo patients). She almost cried when she first opened that door, saying it had become a task that literally faced her several times a day that she had no energy for. Another trip, a year later, I asked if she would like me to go through her pantry. She had always been a big cook and loved entertaining but now she had many things that had been open for over a year or were past expiration dates (check online about best by or best used by dates. They are not neccesarily throw away dates). She later said she was a little sad knowing there had been wasted food (I took the bags straight out to the garbage cans) but was happy for the space cleared out for things they were eating and relieved that she didn't have to feel that way for each box or can she would have thrown out. BE SURE TO ASK PERMISSION A woman's kitchen is her own. Whether she is sick or a caregiver, doing too much there can cause emotional upheaval if done without permission. And never throw out spices or condiments unless mold can be seen. They may only use a dash every month or two or a small jar may cost a mint.
Jeff Apr 01, 2019 9:53am
Super list and great suggestions in the comments too! May I suggest 2 things? First, for those interested in helping in the garden, ask before pulling weeds unless you are already and accomplished gardener. Similar to asking about dietary restrictions before delivering food, ask for specific doerction before messing with someone garden. They may have plans you don't know or have plants you don't recognize and accidentally pull them thinking they're weeds. It's also a great discussion starter! Many gardeners I know get rather excited about their garden dreams and plans, and often a simple question or two does wonders...."I know you love gardening. What plans or dreams do you have this year? How can I help you bring them to pass?" Mental and emotional well being is often boosted with longer term plans and taking steps to make them happen is powerful. Second, as noted throughout the comments, asking for help is a humbling experience and adds to the stress load. Rather than asking Why can I do? in a generic way, be specific, this is noted well in many of the comments. I prefer not asking for permission but rather giving a choice: I *am* here to help, and because I'm not from the government you don't have to be afraid. Which of these 3 tasks would you prefer I do today? 1, 2, 3. Sorry, I'm not taking no as an answer for a multiple choice question. Tacking the "today" also clearly signals I'll be back. Be sure to include indoor and outdoor options. Allow for as much dignity as possible. They may not be in a place to tolerate someone vacuuming or dusting; could be too noisy, or kick up too much into the air, or they may be feeling "ugly" and not really want anyone too close. By having indoor/outdoor choices, you can still help them push through their reluctance to being served, bless then with a service of some kind, and not push the envelope too far in one sitting. Experience shows me that o my the first 1 or 2 times is hard. After that folks pretty much accept that I'm letting them off the hook. To be clear, I am not usually this forceful with folks I don't know. This technique is best when there is a bit of relationship to build on. Im not coming in with a "Ve haf vays ov making you have fun" attitude. And even if I get completely shut down and kicked out of the house (only happened once when I missed judged the connection), I leave by saying "OK. Here's my number when you change your mind.*
JohnA Mar 28, 2019 7:29pm
Sometimes people don't know what do say nor do in the face of illnesses and other things besides that confront them in life - so I find this articles somewhat shallow to begin with despite the it's purported purpose to be a guide for others, just in case. Haven't we all met the self-imposed martyr who refuses to ask for help but ceaselessly bemoans their troubles? Give us care takers a break for once.. And though you may try. there are those who refuse to be helped, even if you show up at the front door.
Gayle Dudley Mar 18, 2019 6:44pm
I have a group of friends from my home town who care a great deal for me. When my son had his first bone marrow transplant we were going to the hospital or clinic everyday in a town far from home. There was always a parking charge. While we could afford to pay this my friends sent me a substantial amount of cash to cover this charge and every day when I went to pay for parking I knew I was loved. It carried me for many weeks through my son’s illness
Jan M. Evers Mar 11, 2019 10:47pm
My grandson died in 2005 with congenital heart defects. We live in MS. Surgery was at CHOP in PA. Caring Bridge was a life saver . I have referred it to many friends, following the same with messages and donations to CB. Now following my son's best friend. Thank you for this communication process.
Margaret Prothro Mar 04, 2019 10:27pm
Caregiving is hard, I know. Been there and I have friends going through some very difficult times. Praying together fort Gof help for strength. 2. See your friend and let conversation takes its course. With an open heart and spirit. Have lunch together. Have a fancy coffee but most of all be there.
Karen Mar 04, 2019 9:54pm
This is excellent information. Many people in a stress situation similar to what you are mentioning, don’t wish to impose on friends, neighbors and family so will rarely ask for help. Those wishing to help rarely know what to do but really want to help. Even going for a visit to the person in need let’s them know they are not alone, calling to find out how they are doing is good to remind them they are not forgotten.
PATRICIA SIMECKA Mar 01, 2019 10:13pm
These are amazing suggestions. I so often want to help but don't honestly know what to do. Thank you,
Elaine Wells Mar 01, 2019 8:55am
I had my hip replaced 2 weeks ago, and I've loved having friends bring lunch for us to share as we visit. I made a list of everyone who offered to help in any way, and emailed them to let them know what I needed. Everyone seemed grateful that they didn't have to guess what would be helpful, and I have felt loved and supported throughout the process. One friend took me & my stuff to the hospital and waited until I was settled in my room. Another picked me up and took me to her home for several days, which was the best gift of all, since I live alone. Others have gone to the pharmacy or grocery store for me, and someone picked up my mail and brought lots of "get well" cards to me. Calls have meant a lot, especially when the friend asks what I need or would like. A small box of Valentine candy was a special treat. Once when an acquaintance of mine was having chemotherapy, I offered to help in any way, but she declined, thinking that I should not be burdened. Then I offered specific help: to do laundry, run errands, clean her house, take her to appointments, or do anything that would be supportive. Finally she let me bring lunch to share while she took a treatment. To this day, years later, she still seems to appreciate that I persisted.
Karen Ingram Feb 16, 2019 4:03am
After a recent family loss, I thought the gifts of food, offering to drive, running errands, taking them somewhere they needed to be, phone calls, help with pets, children, banking, and providing all types of storage, mostly plastic, were MOST appreciated. Disposable plates, bowls, cups/ glasses, plastic ware, napkins, paper towels, plastic wrap as well as plastic bags any and all sizes, even toilet paper, and foil were needed and appreciated. It was so great to receive gifts of food that were in larger amounts of one "really good" recipe for a large family and friends who are gathered in one place. I have heard of those individuals or groups that "sign up" for an individual, and plan 1 person a day to deliver meal(s) to those who are grieving and may simply "forget" to eat. What a thoughtful gesture. This is also true for the chronically ill and older individuals/families, and anyone, really, whose lives have been radically disrupted, especially during the current state of healthcare in the U.S. of America. ..where the peoples go hungry for no good reason.How many people you know are afraid to go to the hospital or don't know anyone well enough who they could ask in their time of need at home? It doesn't matter exactly how you respond to another human being during their time of pain, What's important that you reached out and responded at all. People respond to kindness and inquires into their lives. Remember that none of us have ever been this way before. It's OK, not rude, to ask questions. Talk to your neighbors. That would be good for everyone involved. I've heard that the secret to having good neighbors is to be a good neighbor....hmmmm...food for thought? Ask your neighbor if you can help in any way. Maybe they need someone to deliver food and eat with them...after all have returned home, some nice comfort food like a hot tuna noodle (and cheese) casserole and ask...May I eat with you? You will be amazed at the reaction you'll get. Food brings healing, most all the time for others and ourselves. It's a human must-have. and must be met or we die kind-of-thing. But enjoying good food with others provides socialization, a common thread that makes us feel good at the same time; So go on and bake those great chocolate chip cookies of yours and take some to your neighbor(s). Get to know them and let them become acquainted with you through food.. It works every time!
Susan Feb 11, 2019 3:45pm
When my husband was paralyzed and in the hospital for 6 weeks (then came home a quadriplegic), I was exhausted, and other than the occasional meal, really had no support (we had just moved into the neighborhood 6 months before. I swore to myself then that I would make myself realize (for others) if I had to do something for me, others needed it, too....ie; mow grass, rake leaves and other yardwork (esp hard for me as we were in our late 60's and as we both lost our incomes, couldn't afford to hire it done, plus was afraid to leave him alone inside while I worked outside). Our children all lived away, so it was so hard for us. These are all such great suggestions!!!
Kathy Feb 06, 2019 10:03pm
One thing that would have been helpful to me is if someone would have come over and taken my car & filled the tank. I would have paid for the gas. Anything to save me the time/energy. One friend knit me hats when I was bald. Still love them years later.
Lindsey Feb 02, 2019 4:07pm
A few years ago my father spent the last 9 weeks of his life between hospitals and nursing homes that were a couple hours away. Quite often I had yo drop everything to go there. It was exhausting. Many people offered to help but I just didn't know what to ask for.
Leigh Jan 29, 2019 5:51am
I really appreciated getting muffins and small loaves of quick breads when going through chemo. Easy to freeze and snack because I could only eat small portions. Also, most people don't know that chemo patients should not be around flower bouquets.
J Harris Jan 24, 2019 9:45pm
I had people offer to vacuum, dust, clean the bathroom. Some came multiple times a day to attend to our 3 dogs and even washed my dishes while here. One offered to run errands to the bank and post office. One offered to just come sit, listen and talk. All were such welcome gestures.
Charity Jan 22, 2019 1:04pm
I had a health crisis that hit unexpectedly and put me in the hospital for 2 months followed by another year of home bound recovery... i had 7 children at home and our youngest was 2... we were blessed by remarkably perceptive friends who filled countless needs. One in particular impressed me because she saw the unseen needs... we had homeschooled up until then and suddenly also had to adjust kids to public school... this kind mom brought prepackaged school snacks regularly as a fun thing for the kids! So helpful
John Doe for everyone Jan 20, 2019 9:21am
Tired of articles that do not acknowledge there are single, child free people who need and deserve support.
Alice bohlae Jan 17, 2019 11:20pm
Offering to do grocery shopping is a great thing. BUT if the situation allows for it, alternately offer to sit with the patient and other family members while the caregiver goes grocery shopping. It's amazing how great a little trip to the grocery store on your own can feel. Like being normal again.
Donna Marino Jan 17, 2019 3:14pm
Don't take a casserole made for 12 to a couple!
Lois A Troutman Jan 16, 2019 4:17pm
People/friends of my husband where he worked came regularly to help out with anything, mowing, painting our porch, cleaning inside, mechanic work on our vehicles, etc. etc. The ladies froze single meals for me so I had something to eat when taking care of my late husband. Another lady brought a casserole a Day a week for many weeks. He died from cancer over 17 years ago.
Dyann Chenault Jan 16, 2019 5:41am
Help fold laundry or other mundane task.
Nan Brown Jan 14, 2019 8:27pm
We received a generous gift certificate to "Let's Dish." We could pick up ready made meals
Sandra Smith Jan 09, 2019 7:22pm
Wash the car and clean the inside. Clean kitchen or bathrooms.
Sandra Archer Jan 04, 2019 9:13pm
Friend froze small containers of her homemade chicken vegetable soup. Friend had items delivered to the house to lift my spirits a few days after each of 8 Chemo treatments..each 21 days apart...plant, Edible bouquet etc... I looked like I felt..delivery person never waited for a tip 😊CDs, books & sweet cards all felt like caring hugs❤
Cat Mama Jan 02, 2019 10:01am
All of this great advice also applies when a child in the family is the person who is ill or recovering. Most thoughtful from that experience......A family member sent me cash with the instructions that I was to use it for parents meals and parking fees when our child was staying in the hospital. A couple of women from our church offered to babysit our other kids when we had to take our patient to doctor appointments and the hospital. Our neighbors made sure we had meals. Some friends brought books and toys appropriate for a child stuck in bed. I’m still amazed at the kindness of others!
Jo Loberg Dec 31, 2018 1:02am
I had been struggling and was exhausted with my elderly parents in the hospital..My neighbor showed up at the door wanting my dirty sheets. She washed them in Tide :) and put them back on my bed. It was the best thing EVER to sleep in a fresh clean bed. I’ll never forget it.
Pam Weston Dec 28, 2018 4:50am
Our daughter-in-law had a three-year battle with metatastic breast cancer. She was first diagnosed when their youngest daughter was 4 months old and she passed away when that same girl was 3 1/2 and her sisters were 5 and 6 1/2. During that time their church, family, friends, and even strangers helped them in so many tangible ways. One woman sent her housekeeper over once every two weeks for a thorough cleaning while others came once or twice a week to pick up, vacuum and clean bathrooms. One woman took their laundry home and returned it the next day for over a year. Others would walk the older girls to and from school. Meals were provided every other day for over three years and including a few months after her passing. Gift cards and cash were provided in abundance. One woman shopped for them once a week for the last year, using the gift cards that were given. A neighbor that they didn’t know offered to get rid of a small tree that had fallen down in their front yard. He asked their closest neighbor if that would be OK with them. Another family took in their dogs for a few months during her chemo/radiation. Another would walk the dogs. She was showered with cards, calls, visits, and small gifts. Gifts included lotions, quilts, books, fresh flowers or plants, dvds to watch with the girls, toys and books for the girls. Others took their girls out two Saturdays a month: to MacDonalds, a local park, a play date with their own kids, for a sleepover, etc. Three wonderful ladies provided day care on a rotation basis for the last year. Two years later one woman still helps out once a week! One woman who has an art school provided free art lessons for the two older girls and to this day all three girls attend there for free! Their church family was amazing throughout this time. They provided free counseling for the girls, built a wheelchair ramp, and even paid some of the medical bills and also paid for the funeral expenses, including buying the burial plot for her. After her passing, several women from the church made a quilt for each girl, using their Momma’s tee shirt collection. Some friends pooled their money to send our son and his wife on a cruise to celebrate their 10th anniversary. I could go on and on, but every little gesture encouraged and comforted them. We have seen how God has provided in the midst of their tragedy, even to allowing our son to work from home.
Judith A. Henson Dec 27, 2018 1:51pm
This information is so very helpful. I am helping a family that just lost a loved one and you always wonder what is the best thing to do. Thank you for the information
MZ Dec 24, 2018 9:54pm
Arrange to pick up dirty laundry and deliver washed and folded. Offer to run errands or wait for a repairman Plant flowers or pull weeds. It's very cheering if someone is usually a gardener.
MZ Dec 24, 2018 9:48pm
Arrange to pick up dirty laundry and deliver washed and folded. Offer to run errands or wait for a repairman
Anne Bryant Dec 20, 2018 12:43am
Before my surgery, my friends helped me throw a ore-mastectomy party. Women from all pats of my life came together for a meal and to share how they met me. That brought gifts of books, movies, and toy animals. We took a moment to honor the women we have known who have had breast cancer, some living and some not, like my mother-in-law. I had a sign up calendar for meals and rides to appointments afterwards when I couldn’t drive, and babysitting. 21 years cancer free now. Today is my birthday, and I am never complaining about getting older. Some aren’t so lucky.
Amy West Dec 16, 2018 9:13am
Sitting with children or Seniors so the caregiver can run errands, or just “get away” for a bit has been helpful for our family members. Especially with a long debilitating illness like advanced Cancer, Alzheimer’s, ALS etc.
Angela Dec 13, 2018 9:01pm
A crisis is often not just the one moment, often things are going on for weeks before and/or after so things can pile-up. We had a late-term pregnancy loss and I was on bed rest for a while before, and was very weak for a while afterward from hemorrhaging during delivery. Being in crisis and healing mode for a few weeks, our lawn was badly in need of mowing. Our neighbor came over and mowed our yard...didn't ask, just came over and did it. I still cry thinking about how sweet that was of him.
Donna Peuster Snyder Dec 12, 2018 9:43pm
Offer laundry service. Put a container of dirty items on your porch, someone picks it up, then drops off clean clothes back in the container. Worked well for me when husband had cancer and night sweats and I had three children, one being an infant. One of the greatest helps ever!
Doris Dec 11, 2018 10:11pm
Drop off paper products to cut down on dishes - paper plates, cups, bowls, even toilet paper, garbage bags. Foil and ziplock baggies help with leftovers (include a marker for labeling). A gallon of milk and a box of cheerios will help with little ones.
Amy Dec 10, 2018 10:41am
My mom passed away recently and we were coming and going to the hospital. Meals were offered, but we all had different dietary restrictions. What we asked for that helped us the most was healthy snacks that we could take to go. Cuties, apples, nuts, and muffins were favorites.
Jayne Dec 09, 2018 1:27pm
When a parent is the one affected, the kids sometimes get lost in it all. Offer to take kids for a bit so partners can have special time together. Transport, attend, support the kids activities if neither parent can make it. Stay with the ill parent so the other may spend time with or attend the kids activities. Offer to video and photo so the ill parent may share in activities, even if not immediately.
Margaret flowers Dec 08, 2018 12:11pm
I have just come through such a crisis. I found the pudding packs and fruit cups are nice and I could put in the basket of my Walker without spilling.
I Bryan Dec 06, 2018 4:32pm
I take paper goods, paper plates, cups, napkins, plastic flatware, zip loc bags (for storing leftovers), paper towels, garbage bags, and yes, even toilet paper to ease their burden of doing dishes or having to run to the store for needed items.
Joyce Hayden Dec 06, 2018 3:29am
Gasoline cards. Sometimes all the travel to doctors just wreaks havoc with the budget.
VDavis Nov 30, 2018 3:36pm
Thank you it will come in handy for the next time!😇
Sue & Dan Lord Nov 26, 2018 6:55pm
A few hours of lite cleaning and doing some laundry. Changing the bed linens and bathroom towels.
Annye Nov 23, 2018 7:41am
Send them a housecleaning service for a single clean. It is especially helpful before a holiday or a sad occasion.
Nancy Hart Nov 22, 2018 9:57am
Writing in his journal and getting feedback/support have been crucial to my husband's ability to deal with his Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Weekly meals have helped so much, and gift cards have been a plus. People taking our daughter on outings has been great for all of us. I don't feel like she's missing everything. Despite my experience, I have been tempted to ask others on our situation if there's anything I can do... It's hard not to say it! Instead, if you can't offer a specific task, offer to call if it's ok, or otherwise check in. Written notes or cards are wonderful, but texts or emails are also nice.
Janice Heine Nov 19, 2018 5:32pm
I have found that paper products are nice...paper plates, napkins, facial tissues, bathroom tissue, paper towels, etc.
Anne Nov 18, 2018 8:57pm
During my cancer treatment, some friends showed up with freezer-to-crockpot meals. No planning ahead to thaw, just throw the Frozen clock on the crock in the morning and a tummy meal was ready by dinner time. They included packages of Uncle Ben's precooked rice, nice because it didn't need to take up space in the refrigerator and only takes 90 seconds in the microwave. Also helpful was when someone would come and do a couple loads of laundry.
Charlotte Nov 17, 2018 7:03am
When my sister was spending a lot of time in the hospital due to cancer, friends gave us gift cards and money for buying food and parking. We found that very helpful. Later when my sister was on hospice care, friends would come stay with her for an hour or two so my parents could get out of the house, whether to grocery shop or enjoy a meal out. I found during that time they wanted to go to restaurants very close by. They didn't want to be away more than an hour or so, not knowing what would happen with my sister.
Jan Tucker Nov 17, 2018 6:51am
The “Meal Train” app and program saved my husband and me from starving last year! .Due to a freak accident, I broke both bones in my right fore arm in 7 places, had 3 surgeries and a steel plate inserted! Literally could not even brush my teeth or open a can of soup! ( yes I’m right handed). My friends signed up to being us meals twice a week for 6 weeeks..what a God send this program and my friends were!
Deb Nov 14, 2018 7:36pm
One thing I received during my 2 years of treatment for cancer was a themed gift bag. I received a “sunshine” bag - yellow bag with all yellow items. I was given a highlighter for when I was doing research, a yellow notepad, a pair of slippers, a yellow candle with a flowery scent: add anything you can think of. I also received an “I love you” bag with Hershey’s kisses and hugs (kids LOVED that part), a pr of fuzzy socks with hearts, and other odds and ends. I’ve now gifted this several times and it’s so much fun to do. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to put a smile on someone’s face!
Celeste Ruebl Nov 13, 2018 7:27pm
During my cancer journey, the connections with family and friends through comments on CaringBridge, phone calls, emails, greeting cards has helped me heal the most. Knowing that so many are thinking of me and praying for me has been extremely powerful. When I was still in the hospital, some couples came to visit; the gals stayed with me and the guys took my husband out for a burger and some beers. Giving a break to the primary caregiver is very much appreciated! There have been gift cards for groceries, restaurants, gas, book stores, and massages. I couldn't drive for awhile so friends would take me to my hair appointment and the library. Some stopped by with coffee and a visit. All the love and kindness has been the best medicine ever.
Jane williams Nov 13, 2018 1:28pm
And health crisis could also be emotional or mental health. I live in rural county where garbage pickup is unavailable. I Have a friend whose husband was dying of brain tumor and bed bound. I rented her a small dumpster to help with not just garbage but bed pads, etc. she’s mentioned many times how it was probably the most thoughtful “gift” she received.
Joy Nov 13, 2018 12:20am
Sounds silly, but oh so awesome: wash the sheets and M as ke up fresh beds, Aldo launder the sneakers in the house
Cathy Nov 12, 2018 11:59am
If there are extra people in and out of the home, consider dropping off paper products. A bag of paper towels or toilet paper, paper plates and paper bowls. Anything you might use to make daily life easier. If there are young children, disposable diapers and wipes is one less thing for the family to keep up with.
Jan Nov 12, 2018 6:24am
Drop off a basket of paper products....toilet paper, trash bags, paper plates, napkins, Kleenex, paper cups
Julie Nov 11, 2018 10:17pm
I recently was on the receiving end of a meal train while visiting my sister who is ill. While we very much appreciate it all the donations, much of the food was tomato-based such as lasagna and spaghetti. They didn’t always set while on her stomach. I realize everyone’s “comfort food “ is different, but a chicken pot pie from Costco really hit the mark for her. Not spicy but still very flavorful and easy to warm leftovers in the microwave
Becky Wilson Nov 10, 2018 10:59pm
Food! Sandwich fixings, a cooler to keep them, snacks, drinks, Reiki massages, all prayers. Stamps were a wonderful gift after my Mom passed, for thank you notes!
N Dague Nov 10, 2018 10:36pm
Run errands, do grocery shopping, pick up RX, or give ride to appts.
Trish Weis Nov 09, 2018 5:24pm
I have hosted a ‘pampering party’ / ‘pink ribbon shower’ 2 different times for loved ones w breast cancer. Pulled together quickly, prior to their surgeries, to gather the live & encouragement of their women tribe in one place. Served cosmos, snacks & showered the newly diagnosed with lotions, gift certificates, blankness, pjs, mani/pedi appointments, journals, etc. ! It was a touching celebration of tender friendships each time!
Marcy Nov 09, 2018 5:17pm
When it's on chemo, friends would come over and clean bathrooms, floors, Kitchen and dust every other week. It was awesome They also made sandwiches I could freeze and brought individually wrapped snacks, chips and drinks for my kids lunch each week.
Di Robb Nov 08, 2018 11:32am
You don't know me yet. I am new at Grace Community Church in Hillsboro. I choose to be praying for you and your family often. I hope to attend the Food Truck Fundraiser on Nov. 18th in Hillsboro. I think it's ok to not be ok once in a while. Jesus notices every little thing and is working to make things better. He loves you and your family so. There are a lot of people at my new church that love you too. The picture in our directory of you and your family is beautiful! I plan to meet you all face to face real soon.
Susan Wansbrough Nov 06, 2018 6:51am
Bring a few DVDs and let the “patient” choose one you can watch together. The caregiver can watch, too, or use the time to get out of the house for errands, a couple hours respite, or both. DVDs provide companionship without either the patient or visitor having to come up with small talk for two hours.
Barbara King Nov 02, 2018 10:21am
Instant oatmeal pack with variety flavors, water, dry roasted nuts if no peanut allgeries-makes a great protein snack, good quality tissues, plastic silverware-just toss don't have to wash, pack of Jello with fruit, puddings, cinnamon applesauce, g off cards for grocery store( great if they have a deli) favorite restaurant
Bobbie Murphy Lyon Oct 12, 2018 8:30am
My husband's best friend would visit him at home. They would talk and laugh while I did housework. Hearing them made me feel relaxed and cheerful.
MOM Oct 07, 2018 8:04pm
C.J. Pete Pedersen Aug 25, 2018 3:27am
The thoughts than run through my head about CARING BRIDGE, simply enforce the healing process for one's motivation for recovering. The personality of a person caring too share with another; is truly a reflection n of love for one another. I know; just sitting here at 4 am in the morning and making this journal entry makes me feel better to know someone else can use it maybe no w or later. God Speed Pete
Maureen Biggar Jun 06, 2018 1:31pm
Call ahead to stop by for a visit. Then bring a warm meal; chicken noodle soup and corn bread is a good start. Be prepared with pen & paper to find out what tasks are needed: appt times that you could drive them, food preferences, car wash, oil change, car repairs, house cleaning, window washing, laundry, grocery shopping, a meal out, painting, hedge cutting, lawn mowing, shoveling, garden planting, tending, harvesting, errands. Ask them what THEY would like done first, then be there once a week continuously rather than just one time. Bring your own tools & cleaning supplies so they don't have to scrounge around for them. If they only want a cup of coffee, to visit & reminisce or have you read to them, go through old family photos, that's okay too. If they want to discuss end of life issues, will or estate planning, what they want for funeral prep, their obituary, listen & write and contact family with this info. If you can't do all of what's needed, collect a pool of willing people to rotate helping & call them yourself to organize and maintain a regular caring chain. This is what friendship is about. Schedule time in your day to pray for them, write little encouraging notes ( not just email or text; REAL NOTES THAT YOU MAIL-Everyone likes snail mail that is not an ad or a bill). Organize a card shower. Surprise them with a balloon bouquet or a fruit bouquet/basket, a sweater, bed jacket, lap quilt, new slippers, a music CD, carpet shampoo gift certificate, babysitter for a meal out or even an overnight repreave, a foot massage or pedicure. Soo many ways to be a friend: use your imagination, then carve out the time & DO IT. Don't wait for others to take up the slack. I admit that I am better at suggesting than doing, but these are things that I have appreciated in my own life, so I offer them as suggestions. God bless you.
Inga Carmack Mar 27, 2018 1:37pm
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, a couple of well wishers sent me headcovers and a wig. I had not even thought about planning that far ahead but it was a very good idea to do so. Their foresight was very helpful.
Adrienne Courtois Mar 18, 2018 12:49am
This is great thank you
Deb Macks Mar 14, 2018 2:47pm
I have a couple of friends that just say ‘I’m coming over to clean your house.’ One has a key and will just come and doit while I’m at work. That helps a lot, especially when my energy is really low.
bj Mar 08, 2018 8:09am
re: Providing Meals Best advice I've seen! Multiple allergens and thoughtless packaging (glass/ceramic casseroles, etc) made it impossible for me and my family to eat what well-meaning people brought to our house. Such a waste of time and effort. Thank you for giving sound advice.
Cindy Mar 03, 2018 2:45pm
When the sick person or care giver asks you to do something, say yes. Following up on a "let me know what I can" offer, I asked a friend to change the batteries in the smoke detectors. It very quickly turned into her asking me to make a honey do list that could be tackled. Honestly, I didn't have the time or energy two weeks after my husband died, I just needed the batteries changed. I asked someone else who arrived with batteries in hand.
Suzette Feb 22, 2018 1:00pm
Matt, I'm praying for you and your family. Thanks for your book suggestion.
barbara Loh Feb 10, 2018 1:48pm
Offer to run errands. post office, dry cleaners, drug store grocery store, etc.
Keith Feb 07, 2018 12:53pm
My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer two months ago, and our support system of friends has been nothing short of wonderful. Yes, meals help. Sometimes we do run out of space in our refrigerator and freezer. Several people brought us restaurant gift cards that we can use for takeout. That has been so helpful, as well. I would say the most important thing is to keep in contact. Everyone has said ‘call us if you need us.’ And they mean it. But my wife and I are just not up to calling people and asking for help out of the blue, except for emergencies. That’s why our friends text us, call us, and email us with specific offers. Simply texting support helps more than they know. Be adaptable to their needs and philosophical/religious beliefs. Some people find great comfort in religion, while others do not. Emily McDowell created some very appropriate cards (available on the internet) that word things well for cancer patients who are not religious. Though religious or predestination justification of the cancer may be very well-intentioned, some may not be comforted by comments like “everything happens for a reason,” or “this is part of God’s plan.” Also though various supportive comments are helpful, be careful not to word them in such a way that seem to dismiss the difficulty of chemotherapy or our very realistic fears that cancer could one day take my wife from me. Be very well aware of your own health. If you suspect you have a cold, please do not make meals or come over. Chemotherapy crushes one’s immune system. That also means, as her caregiver, my getting an infectious illness is the next worst thing to happen. Finally, be adaptable to our mood changes. There are days we go to work, when we’re happy to provide updates to well-meaning enquirers. But there are also times when we just don’t have the emotional energy to talk about it. Please respect our space when we ask for it. Most people are really good about that. But a few just don’t seem to have a lot of tact. “Check out our CaringBridge site” is the best answer for those who are constantly wanting more information, even when you just don’t feel like giving it at that moment.
Kathy Smith Feb 07, 2018 10:57am
Contacting me and saying your grass will be cut indefinitely. Don’t worry about it. Also saying can I take Kirk to one of his appointments this week. What day is good? Or let us make arrangements to take him this week and you take care of things at home. Then contacting me and telling me who is driving him what days. It was often very early appointments and living fifty miles away and with Atlanta traffic that was a huge gift. Just people taking charge (with my permission) and getting things done and giving me a desperately needed break. Huge.
Annette Feb 07, 2018 12:43am
As well as posting comments to Caring Bridge or writing emails, a friend who's been very ill has enjoyed simply having me call her on the phone now and then, and have short (short is important) chats with her to ask how she is doing. There's something about hearing the human voice that remains quite powerful. Also, she has appreciated rides offered by myself and other friends to doctor appointments or, when she started feeling better, to class which we both attend.
Thea Spatz Feb 06, 2018 6:35pm
When I started chemotherapy, a friend showed up with disinfectant hand sprays and wipes, and paper towels to be used instead of hand towels for the bath rooms and kitchen towels plus a couple of boxes of tissues. Oh, yes, germ patrol! Another friend left items at our door. There were notes, quotes and other items that made us smile when we found them.
Merthi Keeney Jan 30, 2018 6:50pm
Other helpful things could be Vacuuming, doing laundry, cleaning the bathroom. or store runs. Good article.
jk Jan 28, 2018 7:25pm
I have Stage IV breast cancer, which means that the cancer has spread to other parts of my body. In my case, to the lymph nodes, a small bump near my clavicle and a small spot behind my lung and chest plate. One of the MOST CRUCIAL things is that there is NO ONE one my team that knows ANYTHING about nutrition and how to get my immune system up and running! I talked to the nutritionist at the hospital (in her late 70s, about to retire) and when I asked about what I should do with my diet to help my immune system, she printed out a paper from the American Cancer Society - at least half of the foods were foods that would cause inflammation and feed the cancer and NOTHING that talked about eating ORGANIC. GMO foods have been proven, through research, to cause cancer and a myriad of diseases. (The research, requested by Monsanto, was done in England in the 80s. The doctor in charge of the research did NOT know that it was a secret research and talked about his findings at a seminar where he was speaking. His wife called him after the seminar and told him that the company that he worked for had sent people over to their home and confiscated all of his research and all of their computers - and that he had been FIRED! He had not been told that his finding were to kept secret. He honestly thought that Monsanto wanted to know the information so that they did not harm the people in the United States. No! Monsanto then planted GMO crops here so that we could become ill and need their pharmaceuticals and become RICH.) The importance of eating organic should be at the TOP of the list of things to do - for anyone with an illness, especially if that person has cancer. The synthetic pesticides are cancer causing as well. So, even if a plant is non-gmo, it can still be, and probably is being sprayed with chemicals that will cause cancer. No amount of washing can get rid of this, it has penetrated the food itself. GMO means genetically modified organism. It means that two of the sugar molecules have been spliced together to create a poison. This makes the plant undesirable to insects that might plague the plants. It also makes it poison to us humans. There are MANY kinds of alternative therapies to cure cancer. Just go to YouTube and look at The Truth About Cancer. You will be amazed!! Hypothermia clinics (using heat treatments and low dose radiation, can cure people in about 4-7 sessions. Price is prohibitive $1400/session, if you are on Medicare it is MUCH CHEAPER as Medicare has to pay for your drugs, not sell you drugs. So, it is in their best interest to cure you. The hypothermia clinic in the Los Angeles area told me that if I was on Medicare the cost would be 20% of what Medicare would allow. They would not tell me how much that was, but I know it was NOT $1400. So, let's say it was $800. That would be $160/session. Now that IS doable! And you do NOT have to be 65 to get Medicare. You can get on Medicare if you have a life threatening illness. It takes about two years, maybe less with a special attorney. You can be Dr. Veronique Desaulniers cured her breast cancer with black paste. She is also on YouTube. She even has a video that is pictures of her applying the black paste over the course of 45 days. The cancer tumor was about the size of a golf ball. She said that black paste, which has been used for hundreds of years, draws out the bad stuff in the body - and this can be painful. She said that hers was very painful - and should only be used as a last resort. She was under care of a doctor who prescribed pain medication for her. The pictures are not at all graphic, but they are very informative.
Lesley (the wife!!!!) Jan 18, 2018 10:16pm
David was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus on Dec. 7, 2017. He began his Treatments today, 1/18/18. He will have Chemo one day a week for six weeks and Radiation 5 days a week for 6 weeks. He had his first treatments today. His Chemo didn't bother him at all so far!!! and he fell asleep during the Radiation!?!?!?! Thank you for your caring and support. We appreciate all the prayers and support!
Kathleen Kenworthy Jan 15, 2018 6:19pm
I have stage IV breast cancer and right now I am physically doing pretty well. I was diagnosed about six months and during the initial phase a friend set up a Meal Train which was extremely helpful for my husband and me. What I find most helpful right now is when friends and family let me know they are thinking of me with a card, text, call, email. And I appreciate the comments on Caring Bridge when I post. Feeling forgotten by a few friends is very painful. Don’t wait for your ill friend or family member to ask for help - just get in there and do something! The sick person does not have the mental energy to orchestrate what to do. And keep in touch, that kind of support is extremely helpful to me. Be empathetic and think what you would like if it happened to you and then do it! I am extremely grateful for love and support I have received.