25 Practical Tips To Help Those Facing A Serious Illness

Although written for people who care about someone with a serious illness such as cancer, these tips also apply to those who love and care about people with a chronic illness, such as Multiple Sclerosis.
  • Don't avoid me. Be the friend...the loved one you've always been.

  • Touch me. A simple squeeze of my hand can tell me you still care.

  • Call me to tell me you're bringing my favorite dish and what time you are coming. Bring food in disposable containers, so I won't worry about returns.

  • Take care of my children for me. I need a little time to be alone with my loved one. My children may also need a little vacation away from my illness.

  • Weep with me when I weep. Laugh with me when I laugh. Don't be afraid to share this with me.

  • Take time out for a pleasure trip, but know my limitations.

  • Call for my shopping list and make a "special" delivery to my home.

  • Call me before you visit, but don't be afraid to visit. I need you. I am lonely.

  • Help my family. I am sick, but they may be suffering. Offer to come stay with me to give my loved ones a break. Invite them out. Take them places.

  • Help me celebrate holidays (and life) by decorating my hospital room or home or bringing me tiny gifts of flowers or other natural treasures.

  • Be creative! Bring me a book of thoughts, taped music, a poster for my wall, cookies to share with my family and friends...an old friend who hasn't come to visit me.

  • Let's talk about it. Maybe I need to talk about my illness. Find out by asking me: "Do you feel like talking about it?"

  • Don't always feel we have to talk. We can sit silently together.

  • Can you take me or my children somewhere I may need transportation to a treatment....to the store...to a doctor.

  • Help me feel good about my looks. Tell me I look good, considering my illness.

  • Please include me in a decision. I've been robbed of so many things. Please don't deny me a chance to make decisions in my family...in my life.

  • Talk to me of the future. Tomorrow, next week, next year. Hope is so important to me.

  • Bring me a positive attitude. It's catching!

  • What's in the news? Magazines, photos, newspapers, verbal reports, keep me from feeling the world is passing me by

  • Could you help me with some cleaning? During my illness, my family and I still face: dirty clothes, dirty dishes, dirty house.

  • Water my flowers.

  • Just send a card to say "I care."

  • Pray for me and share your faith with me.

  • Tell me what you would like to do for me and, when I agree, please do it!

  • Tell me about support groups Iike Make Today Count, Cancerwise, and American Cancer Society so I can share with others.

  • From the brochure "25 Tips to Help Those Facing a Serious Illness" from Saint Anthony's Hospital's Make Today Count.

    Copyright 1997, 1998 Wendy S. Hay, all rights reserved.