When someone we know faces a serious illness or death, most of us find it hard to know what to do. Feeling helpless and uncertain, we say, "If you need anything, just call," but we know that's not really enough. Here's a list of truly useful ideas to show your concern and support for people who are close to you and for their families. Shared from the Season Hospice web site.
1. Don't avoid me. Be the friend, the loved one you've always been.
2. Touch me. A simple squeeze of the hand tells me you still care.
3. Call and tell me you're bringing over my favorite dish. Bring food in disposable containers so I won't worry about returning them.
4. Watch my children...or take my dog for a walk while I take a little time to be alone with my loved one. My children may also need a vacation from my illness.
5. Cry with me when I cry and laugh with me when I laugh. Don't be afraid to share these emotions with me. Pain isolates. Help me reconnect with others.
6. Take me out for a pleasure trip...but know my limitations.
7. Call for my shopping list...and make a special delivery to my home.
8. Before you visit, call to let me know but ...don't be afraid to visit. I need you. I can get lonely. So sometimes you have to be a bit pushy.
9. Help me celebrate holidays (and life)... by decorating my hospital room or home, or by bringing me flowers or other natural treasures.
10. Help my family. Invite them out. Take them places. I am sick, but they may be suffering too. Offer to come and stay with me to give my loved ones a break.
11. Be creative. Bring me a book of thoughts, taped music, a poster for my wall, or cookies to share with my family and friends.
12. Let's talk about it. Maybe I need to talk about my illness. Find out by asking, "Do you feel like talking about it?"
13. Don't always feel we have to talk. Sitting quietly together is fine. Your presence confirms that I am still important and alive.
14. Can you take me and/or my children somewhere? We may need transportation to a treatment, to the store, or to my physician.
15. Help me feel good about myself.
16. Please include me in decision making. I've been robbed of so many things. Please don't deny me a chance to make decisions about my family and my life.
17. Talk to me about the future. Tomorrow, next week, next year. Hope is so important to me.
18. Bring a positive attitude. It's catching.
19. What's the news? Magazines, photos, newspapers and verbal reports keep me from feeling like the world is passing me by.
20. Could you help me with some chores? During my illness, my family and I still face dirty clothes, dirty dishes and a dirty house.
21. Please water my flowers...inside and out.
22. Send a card to let me know you care. Send a card to my family to let them know you care.
23. Pray for me and share your faith with me. As appropriate. Recognize that we may not share the same beliefs.
24. Tell me how you'd like to help me. And when I agree, please do so.
25. Tell me about support groups...so I can share with others.