Caregiving | TOP 10 Ways To Help

What to do What to say How it helps
Communicate “I’d like to set up an email group or use social media to share your treatment updates with family and friends. Let’s spend a few minutes talking about how you’d like me to share the news and with whom you’d like me to share it.” Taking on this role relieves your loved one of having to repeat the same updates multiple times, and it ensures everyone hears a consistent message. [Tip] Sharing this Top 10 Ways to Help list with friends and family members via your new communication channel will let others know how they can help.
Cook “Don’t plan anything for dinner on Wednesday because I’m cooking. What time can I drop off a fabulous home-cooked meal?” Picking a specific day makes it harder for your loved one to refuse your offer. Not the best cook? That’s what delivery is for! Be sure to ask about special diet needs before planning your menu. [Tip] Ask if there is a meal schedule or if you can create one to avoid duplication.
Organize “I bet you’re up to your ears in paperwork. ‘Organization’ is my middle name. Can I come by on Saturday to help you make sense of it all?” Bills, research, insurance correspondence and medical forms can be overwhelming. Your help will provide much-needed peace of mind.
Drive “Tuesday is my day off. Can I take you to an appointment or on errands?”  When kids are involved: “I’ve reorganized the carpool schedule, and I’m taking your week. Enjoy your week off!“ Schedules can be hard to coordinate. If you can, offer up an extended block of time. That way, you’re not rushed and your loved one won’t feel like he or she is taking advantage of your time.
Pet care “Has your dog been to the dog park lately? I’d like to take him this weekend.” Pets offer unconditional love, but they do feel the pain of neglect and stress, even when it’s unintentional.  If this pet doesn’t play well with others, skip the dog park and opt for a walk around the block or just some special attention at home.  [Tip] Treats and toys are always a nice surprise!
Clean/do laundry “I’m going to swing by on Saturday morning to throw in some laundry for you. I think I’ll vacuum and do a quick bathroom cleaning while I’m there, so let me know if you’re running low on laundry detergent or cleaning supplies.” Clean clothes and a clean living space are important. And, when things are clean, everyone at home is more likely to feel refreshed.
Outdoor chores “When I’m doing my yard work this weekend, I thought I’d do yours as well.” Mowing the lawn, trimming the hedges and shoveling the snow take a lot of energy. Your help lets your loved one conserve valuable energy and reduce anxiety about chores that may be too massive to attempt.
Shop “I’m making a grocery run. What can I pick up for you?” Shopping is stressful because it also entails getting dressed, driving or finding a ride, being in crowds and more. You’re already going to the store, so this is a no-brainer.  
Make plans “I miss spending time with you. Can I come over for a little bit this weekend and we can have tea, watch a movie or just chat?” Do or talk about something completely unrelated to your loved one’s illness. Everybody needs a break! 
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