Reaching out to family and friends
When you and your loved one return home, family and friends may assume you no longer need help. Don't be afraid to let them know you still need their help. Many people will be glad to lend a hand if you give them the opportunity.
Build your own support team
Ask trusted friends and family members other than your loved one to help keep an eye on you and be your advocate. Ask for help.
If asking for help is hard for you, try to keep in mind that many people really want to help. They are eager for the opportunity to act in accordance with their values and beliefs. You could be doing them a favor by providing them with a meaningful way to help.
It helps to keep a list of specific tasks you need help with: Meals, childcare, transportation, yardwork, housework, etc. Post the list prominently in the home where visitors can see it, or share it with friends, family, coworkers, your faith community, or any other potential source of support. Check out the online calendar tool for helpers, www.lotsahelpinghands.com. For one model of a way to organize a caregiving team, see www.sharethecare.org.
If your loved one is feeling ill or depressed, you may need to help him or her keep in contact with family and friends. You can help let people know how to act around your loved one.
Does your loved one:
- Want to see visitors or prefer some time alone?
- Want to talk about what he or she has been through or prefer to talk about other things?
- Want to hear about other people's successes and complaints, or will they seem trivial after facing a life-threatening disease?
You can also explain how they can help protect your loved one from infection. You can make sure people who are sick do not visit and that all visitors wash their hands when they enter your home.