Do Something to Help Families Facing Illness

Posted on Nov 13, 2017

Do Something to Help Families Facing Illness

Instead of saying “Let me know if there is something I can do,” which places the burden of reaching out on already-stressed parents, consider any of the following tangible, practical ways to help families facing a serious illness:

Anytime Help

  • Take a meal to the home, take the family out for a meal, or purchase a meal through Dinner Elf or other meal-prep service.
  • Offer to transport the children and teenagers to activities. Ill parents and their spouses are quickly overwhelmed.
  • Mow the lawn, rake leaves or take the dog for a long walk. This is one more thing that the family doesn’t have to deal with.
  • Provide a few hours of babysitting or take the children out for a fun activity. Parents need a break, even for a couple of hours. And children and teens need permission and opportunities for fun.
  • Attend school functions or activities of the children. Remember, someone may be missing from their “cheering section.”

Around the Holidays

Holidays are often stressful and exhausting, even more so for those who are managing a serious illness in the family.

  • As the holidays approach, offer to shop, decorate, and/or wrap gifts.
  • Ask if you can provide items that are part of their holiday traditions, since they might not have the time or energy to find them: firecrackers, advent candles, a Christmas tree, menorah candles, black-eyed peas, Roscón de Reyes cakes, etc.
  • Take the children shopping for a gift for their parents or siblings. Remember, if they don’t drive, they have no way to do this simple task.
  • Spend time with the individual or family. The house can be very lonely and quiet with someone ill or hospitalized, adding to the holidays not feeling ‘normal.’ When you visit, bring a favorite dish or treat for the family.

Parents and caretakers, see also “Simplify and Say No This Holiday Season


Adapted from Karen Scott, Lost & Found Grief Center 

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