As a health advocate, I believe healing from any serious illness has to include healing of both body and spirit. Helping hands from loving friends can go a long way in both of these things. So if you have a friend or relative who is sick or recovering at home, don’t waste time wishing there was something you could do to help. A little planning on your part can make a big difference.
I believe that real healing begins at home. Whether your friend is recovering from surgery or going through chemo or radiation, it is important to remember that just because he or she is home doesn’t mean she is well. Don’t expect her to have time or energy to entertain you.
Also remember that each person heals at a different pace and has different needs during the healing process. Some people need attention while others need time alone to process what is happening, make decisions and focus on getting well. So don’t expect your friend to focus on you or to respond to every phone call or text.
I recommend starting with caution when you decide to get involved. Don’t charge in assuming your help will be wanted or even helpful! Stick your toe in the water to feel out what your friend needs. That way you can really be of service to her.
I believe there are three main areas you can help with when someone is recovering at home:
1. Food – Many times people who are recovering don’t have the energy to prepare their own meals. You can help make sure nutritious foods are on hand that are easy to prepare. Start by checking to see if your friend has any food restrictions, or if certain things just don’t taste or smell good right now. Then prepare items that are easy to store, reheat and serve. Casseroles divided into meal-size containers are a good option that can easily be frozen and reheated.
And don’t think you need to take on the task of providing three meals a day all by yourself. Your friend probably has other people like you who wish they knew how to help. Once you identify them, you can set up a system so everyone can take a turn providing a meal.