So you might not be much of a talker or know much about the medical world, but you want to help someone close to you?
Here are a few practical ways to help someone with a chronic condition!
There are two ways to approach it and they both come with some advice:
Asking someone what they need help with.
This can be an overwhelming question especially if they are fatigued and don’t have the mental energy to give you ideas of what you can help with. Don’t assume or impose ideas of what you think they need onto them. They may be clinging to the few domestic tasks they can still do for a feeling of independence. However they may have something that they have been struggling to do that you can help with.
Offer what you are good at or can easily help with.
This approach is much easier and gives specific options for the person on how you can help them. For example, are you a travel guru or do you have a special talent for booking great accommodation and they need to travel for medical treatment? Lend your research skills to find them an accessible and comfortable place!
A few common ways to help:
- Cook a meal for them, or give them some meals and snacks to freeze for a later time when they aren’t feeling up to cooking.
- Help with more physically demanding cleaning or gardening jobs such as vacuuming, cleaning windows, mowing the lawn or pruning large shrubs and trees.
- Run an errand or pick something up for them while you are already out. There is nothing worse than feeling like a burden or asking someone to go out of their way to get you something, but if you offer to do something for them while you are already out and about, it takes the pressure off. It’s also a slightly sneaky way to help without a huge show of it and making the person feel as though they are in debt to you.
- Go grocery shopping with them and push the trolley, or help them order online.
- Help them with their research – it could be anything, like more information on their doctor’s suggestions, finding support groups and organizations, information for financial support applications, finding comfortable clothes or equipment.
- If you both have school aged children, offer to pick them up occasionally and play at your house or the playground to offer the person a break.
Try to check in consistently and over time. Lots of support is usually given at the start of a condition when the person still has their own strength to draw on, but we need more support as time goes along and that initial support drops off.
Take good care, Readers. I’ll keep the light on.