Friday, May 2, 2014

How to Help Those Who Are Injured, Ill, Grieving or in Need of Comfort

Is it with sadness that I write this week’s post. My friend Paul, whom I dedicated last Saturday’s post to, did not survive his stroke. From the many conversations I’ve had with mutual friends in the last few weeks, I realized it’s easier to share one link that covers the various aspects of ‘how to help” in situations like this.

Below is a brief summary of things to consider when someone is diagnosed with a serious illness or injury, when they are grieving and/or are in need of support. Check out the links for the full articles as they contain a lot of information.

How to Respond When Someone is Ill or Injured: Family and close friends need help when some one is ill or injured. A note with a gift card (gas, food, general purpose, pharmacy) to the person and/or those helping them is always appreciated. Depending on your relationship, organizing help, using something like the free website Lotsa Helping Hands,  can make all the difference. There are any number of tasks (e.g. meals, rides, babysitting, household chores, to offering vacation days) where help is needed. Note that many of the suggestions outlined in this post are very relevant in helping when a family member or close friend has died.

• How to Be Around Someone Who is Ill or Injured: Not surprisingly, people are often not comfortable being around someone who is ill or injured. It is a reminder what can happen to us and those we dearly love. Yet, it’s vital for patients to see family and friends as they can play an important role in healing. Be mindful that your attitude can make a big difference so be calm, supportive and encouraging. Need ideas for what to take to the hospital or for someone who is home bound? Check out Unique Gifts for Hospital Patients.

• How to Comfort: Grieving happens when someone dies or another life altering event occurs. We are wired to recover from grief and loss so trust in the process.  Intense grief can be scary to witness and even more frightening to the person. However, this is often temporary and one of the most comforting things you can say is “you are having a normal reaction to a very abnormal set of circumstances.” In general, it takes about a week to 10 days for the brain to shift to the “new normal.” Letting them know they wont always feel this bad can be a real help. Learn more 

• Encourage laughter: It helps to distress situations and it aids in healing. In fact leading grief loss researchers have found that one of the most helpful things you can do for a grieving person is make them laugh. 

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