Our family has been going through rough waters related to some serious medical issues, and we have only been making it with the help from family and friends. People keep asking what they can do to help us. They want to help, but they don’t know exactly how. We have been very specific with them, which they appreciate.
Certainly, every situation is different, but here are some tried and true ways to help others in great need.
1. Write notes, emails, texts, Facebook posts, or tweets of encouragement.
2. Gifts – flowers, fruit, ice cream, coffee, magazines, books, movies…
3. Gift cards to nearby restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops, movie theater…
4. Do Errands – groceries, library, dry cleaners, or whatever they need.
5. Do Laundry. This can be a huge help for a family.
6. Housecleaning or yard work.
7. Child care, pet-sitting, or house-sitting.
8. Visit, according to their best day, time, length of visit, etc. Just ask what they prefer ahead of time.
9. Listen to them vent about their problems, if that is what they want to do. Be the listener, not the advisor. See note below about the ring theory.
10. Bring humor. It’s good medicine. Share funny stories. Bring a light heart, not your own set of first-world problems that you want to gripe about.
Just remember that every family is different and every crisis is different. Do your best to customize your support for their specific situation. Ask what they prefer, and ask them to be specific. Sometimes the giver must drag the information out of the receiver. Be persistent in finding out how you can bless them in the most helpful way possible.
NOTE: An important aspect of caring for someone in need is the language that we use with them. My copy editor and new friend, Meghan Pinson, sent me this outstanding article about how to communicate with people in any sort of crisis. It’s the ring theory, and it is such a brilliant concept that you must read it. CLICK HERE for the article.