In these challenging, uncertain times, community can be an incredible source of strength. A little extra love and support can go a long way right now.
We asked our staff and community for ways to support our loved ones and the general community in the midst of the coronavirus. Here are their ideas on how to stay connected and help out:
Tips to Stay Connected
Social distancing is recommended to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, but that doesn’t mean anyone should feel isolated. Here are some tips to stay connected with your loved ones during self-quarantine:
1. Video Chat
Just because you may not be able to see your loved one in person, doesn’t mean you can’t see their lovely face!
Video chat apps like FaceTime and Skype allow you to connect with friends and family virtually. This can be a great way to get that “face to face” interaction while you’re apart.
Check out more free video chat apps to use during social distancing.
2. Pick Up the Phone
In addition to video chatting, a simple phone call can work wonders to help your loved one feel connected. Just hearing the sound of a family member or friend’s voice can be comforting.
“Call them. Days are long without friends and family.”
3. Start Group Chats
Keep up with family, friends, coworkers, or church groups no matter where you are through text or chat groups like Facebook messenger or WhatsApp. Group chats are a fun place to share funny pictures or videos, and send hopeful messages to keep spirits high.
4. Lean on CaringBridge
CaringBridge is an online health journal which helps patients and family caregivers maintain social connections and coordinate support. The CaringBridge Journal lets users mass-update loved ones, and the Planner helps them coordinate care needs.
There are several ways you can use CaringBridge to connect with and help others:
- If you know someone needing the support that comes from CaringBridge, please tell them about it. You can start a free site at any time.
- If you’re following a CaringBridge Journal, now is a great time to leave a Comment or click the heart icon to show support.
- If you’re a patient or caregiver writing on CaringBridge, let family and friends know how you’re feeling. A pandemic on top of what you have going on already adds stress. It’s OK to say that out loud. Ask for love, support, prayers, and practical help if you need it. Never underestimate how much people want to help.
How to Help Out
It’s so important to strengthen social connections in this time, but just as necessary to coordinate care and offer support for daily needs. Here are some ways you can help others while maintaining a safe distance:
5. Assist with Errands
Life doesn’t pause for anything, including an epidemic. In times like these, errands can become overwhelming, even more so when you’re ill or at-risk.
We all know someone who could use a little extra help – take some of these burdens off their plate. There are many chores you can do that are social distancing-friendly like mowing their lawn, bringing their mail up from the mailbox or pet-sitting.
6. Pick Up Prescriptions
If your loved one has prescriptions, help them out by stopping by their local pharmacy and dropping off their medication in their mailbox or on their doorstep. It’s a simple gesture that shows you care, and most importantly: keeps them healthy.
7. Bring Them the Essentials
Offer to help provide life’s daily needs. For example, you can order doorstep delivery of grocery and household essentials like paper products and cleaning supplies. Tip: You can use the CaringBridge Planner to help coordinate this.
“We have home-bounds close to us that we will be calling and going to see about. We bought a few extra items so we will have some to share with them.”
8. Do Your Part to Stay Healthy
One of the best things you can do for high-risk individuals is to follow the health guidelines we’ve been given:
- Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid close contact with those who are sick or if you’re sick, and practice social distancing if COVID-19 is spreading in your community
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily
“I have two family members who are considered high-risk for COVID-19. I can’t say enough how much it means to wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, but in reality much longer. It can make the difference between life and death.”
CaringBridge user Christin G., whose daughter, Delaney, was born prematurely, and whose son, Carson, had a heart transplant in 2017
“Our family is taking the coronavirus seriously. I have to restart chemo, which means weekly trips to the hospital and a weakened immune system for me. Just because you likely won’t die from this virus doesn’t make it fair to put others who might at risk. I need treatment, so all I can really do is be as careful as possible and pray for health.”
A CaringBridge user in the midst of treatment for breast cancer
9. Be Compassionate
Challenging times like these prove that we are far more similar to our neighbors than we are different. Remember to be kind to others, no matter what. We all need a little extra love in this time.
“People should always be very kind, loving, caring, and compassionate towards everybody while the coronavirus is going on, and also at any other time, too, no matter what day it is and no matter what is going on!”
Margie Vicki R.
10. Offer Financial Support
If you are able, offering financial support in this time can be an incredible and life-changing gift. If someone close to you is in need due to high medical bills, a lost job or any other reason, consider starting a fundraiser or offering a small donation of your own.
You can also provide monetary support by covering their utility bill for the month or filling up their car with gas in case of an emergency. In times of need, any support can make a difference.
11. Go Beyond the Basics
Having all the essentials covered is most important. But doing something to surprise and delight your loved one can be such a treat, for both of you. Here are a few ways you can go above and beyond to make your loved one’s day:
- Order their favorite meal straight to their house
- Send them a ‘thinking of you’ or ‘get well soon’ card
- Have flowers delivered
- Throw them a virtual “party” by getting all their special people in one video chat through Google Hangout or Zoom
- Mail them a fun gift: a book by their favorite author, candle or fuzzy robe can bring a smile to their face
12. Share Your Faith
Faith may offer a source of comfort in trying times, and it’s something you can share whether you’re side by side or across the world. Try starting a prayer chain for someone who needs it, send over your favorite religious or inspirational quotes, or coordinate a call between them and their religious leader or faith group, if they have one.
“After you’ve been through cancer, you look at everything differently. If I could offer advice to any family today, it would be to stick by your faith. Know that your God is with you and will take care of you all the way through. Just enjoy every moment together.”
CaringBridge user Juan M., a paramedic, firefighter and dad of Jaxson, a cancer survivor
13. Be Patient
This situation can certainly be frustrating and anxiety-inducing, but a special way you can help is by displaying patience and positivity.
Help others reflect on the beautiful aspects of life they can be grateful for, and focus less on what they don’t have. Being a bright light for others will always yield support.
Remember, Every Day Is Precious
CaringBridge user Christin G. said it well: “This virus is creating new ways for everyone to think of how to keep your family and friends safe. We are in uncharted territory and we will all learn together. At one time we did not know how much time our family would have together. So I hope everyone will appreciate every day they have now.”
From the CaringBridge team to our community and beyond: stay safe, and stay connected. If you have any other tips on how to support others in this time, please comment your ideas below. We would love to include your feedback.