Another neighbor is having a rough time. A family member has been diagnosed with a chronic illness that is yet to stabilize and the beloved family dog is facing end of life issues. Sensing they needed some comfort, I offered to bring a meal. They accepted but, when I emailed to confirm the date they responded, “We really appreciate the offer but we are doing ok. Only bring something if you have extra.” This message confused me and it wasn’t until a second email that they confided that a meal would be comforting and they were very appreciative of the offer.
Just as you may be confused as to how to help those in need, they too are grappling with their needs and when and how to ask for help.
While we are still dealing with Covid, flu and a myriad of issues, you might be reluctant to make your needs known. But if you are overwhelmed and need support others will help you. Here's how to begin:
- Start with errands that someone is already doing. Is a friend or neighbor going to the pharmacy, post office, or UPS? What about the grocery store? It’s easy to run an errand for someone else while running your own.
- Are you grappling with technology? Maybe you need help setting up grocery delivery? Or how to work Zoom or use other communication vehicles? Ask tech savvy friends or neighbors to walk you through it (from a safe distance or by other means). Or, they can recommend tutorials or provide needed advice.
- Do you need transportation help? Friends or neighbors may be willing to manage help with doctor appointments or other transportation needs.
- Ask friends or neighbors to either arrange or refer you to their helpers for weekly and annual household tasks, such as: mowing the lawn, weeding and mulching, cleaning the gutters, washing the windows, shoveling the snow, or cleaning the house (if you are willing to have help in your home).
- Meals, especially homemade, can be big helpers. Many people will not just offer to bring you a meal, they’ll organize other friends or neighbors so you’ll have a number of meals to see you through.
- Ask someone to grab you dinner. When dealing with long-term issues you can ask someone to pick you up a rotisserie chicken and vegetable or other dinner items weekly when they do their own grocery shopping.
Help is available in a myriad of forms and can make a difference; don’t be afraid to ask.
Robbie Miller Kaplan is an author who writes from a unique perspective as a mother who has lost two children. She has written How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say, a guide to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about experience loss, available in ebooks for "Illness & Death," "Suicide," "Miscarriage," "Death of a Child," "Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby," "Pet Loss," "Caregiver Responsibilities," "Divorce" and "Job Loss." All titles are in Amazon's Kindle Store.
Image via Flickr Creative Commons, Pedro Ribeiro Simões