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health & wellness
 By Sarah Lyons
When a friend or family member is struggling through a difficult time, it is natural to want to lend a hand. Often the families that need the most help are reluctant
to ask for it, which makes it hard to know exactly how to help. Here are nine ideas to show your support:
Bring a meal. This is an age-old idea. When a parent is not able to cook a meal for their family as usual, friends and family often send versatile casseroles like lasagna. Try thinking outside the 13x9 pan. Why not bring the family the fixings for breakfast and lunch rather than just dinner? Stock the freezer with easy, ready to make items like pizza, pasta dishes,
soups and crock pot meals. Then the family can pull something out of the freezer when they are not up for cooking. Crunched for time or don’t feel like making an extra meal? Bring the family their favorite take-out or send a gift card.
Set up a meal calendar.
When one meal just doesn’t cover it, set up a meal calendar using websites like
Discuss with the family
the most convenient dates
and times to deliver meals
and solicit friends to fill all
the open spots. Social media is a great place to recruit people you might not think to ask. Or, consider local meal delivery services, such as Alaska Dinner Factory (
Offer to babysit. Show support by offering to babysit, even if it’s just for a couple hours. If you are taking your own children to the park, swing by and pick up their children for the afternoon. This gets them out of the house and gives the parents a break. Driving the kids to school or activities is also a big help for a family that is dealing with change.
Help with pets. Kids aren’t the only family members that need attention. If the family is making trips to the doctor or hospital, offer to feed the cat or walk the dog while they are out. This will help ease the mind of the family and give them peace of mind while they focus on what is important.
Clean the house. Sweep the floor, change laundry loads, vacuum, do dishes, or fold some laundry. Even a little bit of picking up can make a big difference. A clean house during chaos can bring some much-needed peace during a chaotic time.
Run errands. If you are on your way to the store anyway, why not send a quick text and ask if the family needs anything – toilet paper, diapers, or snacks? Does mom want a coffee or some lunch? Many grocery stores offer drive-up pick up these days. Have the family order and pay for groceries online, then pick them up and
deliver them. Offering to help put them away would be an extra bonus.
Leave a surprise. If the family is not up for visitors, leave a surprise on the doorstep for them. You can create a care package with special treats, magazines, snacks, and a card. A delivery of flowers is another great way to cheer them up without interrupting family time.
Take food to the hospital. It is common knowledge that hospital food is not gourmet. If someone is in the hospital supporting a family
member, offer to deliver food to them. Bring homemade meals for them to warm up later or offer to sit at their loved one’s bedside while they take a walk and get some fresh air.
Listen. Sometimes a long talk is very therapeutic. When you visit, listen attentively and offer your support. Call and check on them, even if you just leave a voicemail. In these times of texts and emails, receiving a phone call shows you will go the extra mile to support a friend. However, even an email or text shows you are offering support while leaving it in their hands to respond when the time
is right.
When a family is walking through a difficult time it may be hard for them to ask for help or even recognize what would be helpful. These ideas are sure to make any family feel supported and loved.
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