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Old 08-27-2010, 06:30 AM   #1
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torib HB User
best way to help

Hello all I am looking for some adivice on the best way to help a caregiver. My friend's 5 year old son was diagnosed with luekemia just last week. She has 2 other young children at home. I'm just wondering what is the best way to help her? I have offered to help with the other kids, make meals, anything she needs but I'm sure it's difficult for her to think about what she needs. I know she has family support to help with the other kids.
Just as a caregiver what is something that someone has done for you or that you needed but couldn't ask for? Is it okay to take her away for an hour or so, out to dinner or for a pedicure, just to forget it all for a little bit.
Thanks so much for any direction you can't point me in.

many blessings to you and yours
Tori

 
Old 08-28-2010, 05:25 AM   #2
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coggles HB User
Re: best way to help

Torib, you are indeed a queen among princesses!!! I wish every caregiver had friends like you!
There is so much you can do, but you need to walk a fine line between helping out and smothering - which is very easy to do. But if you are good friends, and it seems you must be, then I'm sure your friend will let you know if you're overdoing it. She's going through a tough emotional time and while she needs a lot of support, she also needs time to herself.

You don't mention if your friend has a husband who is also willing to help, that's why you need to be a little careful that you don't make it seem like you're getting between them.

Take care also that you don't just keep saying "let me know if there's anything you need!" That's a very over-used phrase and while most people who use it truly mean well at the time, it's rarely taken up. Caregivers have so much on their mind that they can't even think of what they need, and when they might need it, and they also feel guilty about calling someone for help because it can make them feel that they aren't coping. So try and make definite arrangements.

I'm sure with such a caring nature that you're also intuitive, so you'll KNOW what she needs and then you can make the suggestion, such as: "How would it be if I came around and did x-y-z while you're doing that?" If it's something that would be helpful for her, then she'll probably jump at it, but if she doesn't then back off, don't force it.

One thing ALL caregivers certainly need is time for themselves, but with 2 small children and now a sick child, that's going to be difficult for her. Perhaps you can suggest that you take the other children out, maybe for an afternoon on the weekend, to give Mum time to be with her sick son.

But if there ARE times when she's going to be on her own, it would be a perfect time to suggest that you both go for a massage or a pedicure. If you don't want it to appear like you're trying to cheer her up (some caregivers feel like they're being patronised in these situations) you could say "I would LOVE a massage but I don't want to go alone, how about you come along, my shout!"

No doubt she'll be spending time at hospital with her son, so perhaps you can drive her there and sit with her while he has treatment. I can't begin to tell you how emotionally draining it is to sit alone in a cold and friendless waiting room while a loved one is having treatment! Or maybe you can look after the other 2 children when she has to go to hospital, or suggest that you cook a nice meal for her and the family when she gets home because she'll certainly not be feeling like cooking.

But the very best thing you can do is be available to LISTEN. She'll be going through a lot of emotional turmoil and it's not always easy to talk to people, mostly they don't really listen. Many people are full of advice (which she doesn't need) or they get bored after 5 minutes of talking about illness and switch the topic to something else (usually themselves, sigh), so BE THERE (whether it be with her or sitting on the phone to her) when she wants to talk, rant, cry, laugh, scream - and just listen. If she gets upset, if she gets angry or tearful, don't take it personally, just be there for her, hold her hand, encourage her to get it all off her chest. Don't tell her that everything will be OK because neither you or she knows it will be, but just listen and understand.

It might not seem like much, but when I first became a caregiver I gave up trying to talk to friends after the first year because they just didn't want to know, it made them uncomfortable, so I ended up phoning on-line counselling just to have someone who would listen, ask a few questions, sympathise, acknowledge how difficult it all was, and not make judgements. I talked for an hour to a total stranger but oh it felt SO good.

Torib, you are a wonderful friend and I joyfully salute you. You'll know what she needs when the times come, and you'll know how to offer it. I'm sure she appreciates you more than you could even imagine. Much love to you.

 
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:16 PM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 150
Lizzie62 HB User
Arrow Re: best way to help

Quote:
Originally Posted by torib View Post
Hello all I am looking for some adivice on the best way to help a caregiver. My friend's 5 year old son was diagnosed with luekemia just last week. She has 2 other young children at home. I'm just wondering what is the best way to help her? I have offered to help with the other kids, make meals, anything she needs but I'm sure it's difficult for her to think about what she needs. I know she has family support to help with the other kids.
Just as a caregiver what is something that someone has done for you or that you needed but couldn't ask for? Is it okay to take her away for an hour or so, out to dinner or for a pedicure, just to forget it all for a little bit.
Thanks so much for any direction you can't point me in.

many blessings to you and yours
Tori
Hi Tori,
My grandson was recently diagnosed at the age of 3 with stage 4 Neuroblastoma (cancer). The first thing we all did was start fundraisers. There are a lot of medications that aren't covered and health insurance has a cap on lifetime benefits. We are having a beef -n - beer in a few weeks. This is what me and my friends and neighbors have been concentrating on because there isn't much else you can do. I had thought of taking my daughter for a day at the spa, but it isn't a good idea. All they think of is the sick baby. The best thing is an open ear without a lot of direction, in other words, positive thoughts, you need to be the optomist. Here is what she has. She has a very sick son with a deadly disease. There is only one thing you can think, literally only one. That child will live, there is no ifs, or waffling there is only one outcome... cancer free life.
Nice meals are great idea. They always need them whether home or in hospital.
Anything that you could think of to make life easier is a good thing. If your friend is ambivilant about nails/pedicures, just drop it. You kinda need to feel her out. Does she have a huge support system? That will help you figure things out.
Love,
__________________
Lizzie G

"Life is Beautiful" Sixx:AM

 
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