Where is Help When You Need It?
When you or a loved one is going through a crisis like an illness, accident or tragedy, can you find help when you need it?
When my husband had a stroke, many people casually said to me, "Let me know if there's anything I can do to help" or "Call me if you need anything." I never did ask these people for help. Not because I didn't need it, but because I questioned their sincerity. To me, their offer to help was just a pleasant nicety.
Then there was a group of people who insisted on helping. They repeatedly asked me what they could do. Friends from our church kept calling the church office to see if they knew what they could do to help. One of our pastors called me to tell me this and asked me to make a list of things I needed done. Then they scheduled a work day to come to the house to take care of those things. It really helped that they were coordinating everything. All I had to do was give them a list.
However, making a list wasn't easy for me. Some of the things I needed done seemed so trivial, and other things I didn't know I needed until I needed it. When a person is in this type of crisis situation, it's hard for them to concentrate on anything other than their loved one.
Now that I can think clearly, I'd like to pass on to you some ways that you can help others, and I offer a list that you can use to ask for help.
20 Practical Ways to Help in Time of Need
1. Give McDonald's gift certificates, or bring a healthy salad, soup or sandwich to the hospital when you visit during the day. I spent 3 months at my husband's side while he was recovering. Hospital food is not very good and it's expensive. McDonald's has very good salads.
2. Take their car to get an oil change, washed or gassed up. I didn't mind paying for these things, but I didn't have time to do it.
3. Fill their water softener with salt
4. Let their pet out during the day or take the dog for a walk
5. Clean their house. Get several people together to vacuum, dust and scrub floors and bathrooms.
6. Do laundry: Wash, dry, fold and put away
7. Make a meal for other family members at home
8. Change bed sheets
9. Replace burned out light bulbs
10. Do grocery shopping
11. Drive the kids to and from school
12. Update others on the status of the situation. Our church office was notified so they knew how to respond to people asking how we were doing. It was very tiring for me to repeat the status of Steve's condition to everyone who asked, so I sent out bulk emails to those who were interested. Most hospitals have public computers to be used just for this reason, but it takes time to enter email addresses. Someone who is computer savvy could do this. (Note: This is how my blog got started.)
13. Help the kids with homework
14. Take the kids to scouts, ball practice, or other activities they're involved in
15. Clean out their refrigerator
16. Water plants
17. Do yard work: Cut grass, rake leaves, remove snow
18. Wash dishes or load the dishwasher; empty and put away
19. Run errands
20. Take your friend out for lunch so he/she can get away from the situation for awhile.