Be our dinner guests. When I was critically ill and confined to my home, it was the highlight of our day when friends not only brought dinner, but also joined us for dinner and conversation. (The dinner-guest schedule was arranged by a caring friends and by my parish nurse.)
A friend typed my favorite Bible verses in large print on her computer. I posted one verse in each room of my home, so that when I walked into a room I had something positive to read and think about. Ask the person for their favorite verses or use my favorites; Proverbs 3:5; Psalm 91:4; Psalm 115:1; Isiah 49:15,16; Jeremiah 29:11-14.
Frequent visits are treasured, but it is best to call me before you visit to arrange the best time.
Encourage your spouse to come over to visit my husband. How happy I am when I hear my husband laughing with a friend as they eat popcorn and “coach” a college or pro football game.
Watch a television program or a video with me. This gives me the satisfaction of enjoying your company without the responsibility of entertaining you.
If you have been with me during a difficult time, please, before parting, make a date to get together again. It offers me another planned time when I know someone will listen and care. It helps relieve the threat of desperation.
Hug me often. I need the physical touch as well as the affirmation!
I need to laugh. There is such healing in laughter. So tell me a joke or tell me about something funny that happened to you, or bring me a funny cartoon from the newspaper.
Send me one note a week or
call me once a week for a couple of months. It’s the friends who keep visiting, calling and sending notes who give me hope for the future and courage to work toward it.
Give me a CD that has been especially soothing or inspiring to you.
Allow me to feel sad. One of the most difficult problems of serious illness is that everyone wants to encourage the patient. However, sometimes having a good cry with a friend allows the tension to escape. You encourage me by letting me talk about my feelings.
I don’t remember what words people said to me during the first weeks after the death of my young son, but I do remember those who held my hand, patted my shoulder, and hugged me. Never underestimate the power of a touch.
Call daily to check on me, especially during a hard time.
Be the kind of caregiver who visits, calls, or sends a note or flowers each year on the date when my loved one died. What a loving gift to know that someone else remembers too!
Ask me what food I crave today. One day I requested pizza, another a turtle sundae. Each made my day! (As an added bonus, my friend stayed and ate with me.)