When I was just a teenager, my dad was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer. From diagnosis to his death, only four months passed, though he had been sick for months prior.
While my parents had many friends and family members in the area, they didn’t hear from many of them during his sickness simply because they didn’t know what to say or do.
If you find yourself in this position, with a family friend or loved one who is very ill, there are plenty of things you can do to ease the burden for the family.
There are some gifts that you can give that are simply giving of your time and effort.
Spend Time With The Person Who Is Ill
We had a neighbor who would come to our house once a week to just spend time with my dad and talk to him. Most people act awkward and strange around someone who is dying, but this neighbor was completely comfortable spending time with my dad.
While he was there, my mom could take some time to herself or get done chores that she couldn’t do when she was alone and tending to my dad.
Bring A Meal
Bringing a meal to the family is incredibly helpful.
There are so many things to do when caring for another who is unable to care for himself that not having to worry about a meal is a blessing. When you drop off the meal, consider staying for awhile to keep the family company.
Sometimes when you're going through hard times some financial help here and there can be key to get you through. Here are a few ways that giving financial gifts can help.
Driving back and forth to the hospital and doctors’ visits takes a lot of gas, so a gas card would likely be welcome. Just try to find out what gas station the person likes or is on the way to the hospital.
Visa Gift Card
There are so many expenses when a loved one is sick. The person likely can’t work, so that source of income is gone. In addition, there are medical bills, specifically co-pays and deductibles to be met. Then, there is parking, which can be pricey if the hospital charges for parking. A Visa gift card could also be used for the healthy spouse’s meals at the hospital.
Amazon Prime Delivery
If you have Amazon Prime and live further away from the loved one who is ill, consider sending an Amazon Prime gift basket filled with non-perishable food and items like books and music.
When my dad felt well enough, he wanted to read, but he was in no condition to go to the library, and my mom couldn’t leave him, so having some books delivered to the house would have been a welcome diversion for him.
Grocery Store Gift Cards
Another option is to give grocery store gift cards so the family can get food, especially now that so many grocery stores deliver.
Hire A House Cleaner
If you’re able to fund it, consider hiring a house cleaner for the family. This person can come once a week or every two weeks.
Having a messy house and no time to clean it can be distressing; when it feels like your whole world is falling apart, having some semblance of normalcy with a clean house can be a blessing.
Hire A Lawn Care Service
Likewise, keeping up a lawn, depending on the size, can take one to four hours a week or more, which the sick person cannot do and the caregiver may not be able to handle.
If a company can come once a week and take care of lawn maintenance, that is one less thing to worry about. If you can’t afford to give the family more than one or two weeks of this service, consider going in with other friends and family so that you can offer the service for a longer period of time.
Feeling helpless when someone you care for is ill is a natural feeling, but there are many things that you can do to help the family through this difficult period.
If you’ve had a close friend or loved one who was critically ill, what have you done to help the family? If you’ve been the caregiver, what did you most appreciate people doing?