Unfortunately it is all too common for people who want to help a chronically ill friend to miss the mark.
It's understandable, really. Unless you've had a health problem that has held you down for a good long time, it's easy to misunderstand what they need and what they want.
Below is a list of things to keep in mind. Each item on the list is to the point. That's not to give offense — any person who is chronically ill appreciates every visitor and helper who has not forgotten about them. They are thrilled to have you in their lives.
Just keep it simple ... which in the world of the chronically ill is the best way to keep things.
1) Come over to visit.
People who have been ill a long time often do not have a steady stream of visitors. Some don't have anybody coming over at all.
2) Make the visit about your friend.
Chronically ill people who don't have attentive friends or family can feel invisible and like life is passing them by, like they are faceless in an unfeeling world.
3) Do their dishes.
Chronically ill people may not be able to do their own dishes, or they may be worn out by doing them.
4) Do their laundry.
Doing laundry can be exhausting, help them save energy for another activity.
5) Ask if you can pick up anything they need.
This saves them from the overload of navigating a store, calculating the cash, then recovering after the trip. If you cover the cost of the item yourself, that can be a tremendous gift.
6) Surprise them with something they don't need.
An unexpected whimsical gift can lift the spirits in a way nothing else will.
7) Bring food.
This means less meal preparation for them. Be careful of any food allergies or sensitivities. Bring something they can safely eat.
8) Bring money.
Want to do something practical for a sick friend who can't work? There's nothing wrong with cold, hard cash.
9) Ask if they need a ride anywhere.
Even if they have a car, they may appreciate not having to drive.