I wanted to say thank you to everyone who offered words of support and encouragement to me and family in this trying time of my Gram’s passing.
Going through this has given me some insight as to how to be of help to others in these kinds of situations (severe or terminal illness). I thought I would share some tips here. If you have anything to add, please do!
- Try to use the least intrusive method of communication.
- Text or email if the family uses these technologies.
- Allow them to get back to you in their own time.
- Don’t be offended if they don’t respond.
- Offer to help only if you are able to.
- Don’t try to make contact every day.
- Don’t ask the caregivers to call you everyday.
- Keep visits short.
- Don’t be offended if the family asks you not to visit, it’s not you.
- Be aware that the person requires constant care and that your presence may be inhibiting that.
How Can I Help?
- Bring food. (This was the biggest help ever, thanks Joy.)
- Don’t ask what they would like to eat, just bring something that keeps well.
- Offer to be a contact person for updates, that way you can handle making and receiving calls when there is news.
- Offer to relieve the caregivers, but don’t push if they aren’t receptive to the idea. Again, only offer if you are able to do this.
- Ask, “What can I do?” They may need you to run an errand or something.
- If you work with the caregivers, offer to take on some of their workload.
- Bring tissues with lotion. (This was the first thing I sent my husband out for.)
Overall, try to understand that this is likely the most stressful thing the family could go through. Don’t be offended if someone snaps and yells at you. It’s not you. Please try to understand that no matter how close of a family member you are these suggestions (and anything else the family says) apply to you too.