How to Help a Sick Friend and Show You Care

Young woman consoling her friend
| 6 min read Crowdfunding

Imagine a close family friend is facing a surprise diagnosis. Feeling overwhelmed, you may be unsure of what to do next. Naturally, you want to be supportive. But there’s no guidebook for how to help a sick friend.

It’s important to understand that your friend isn’t defined by their diagnosis. And as a part of their support system, you can impact their recovery. We’ve compiled a list of thoughtful gestures and caregiving tips that can help you make a real difference.

Virtual aid

1. Create a playlist

If you don’t live in the same area, there are still ways you can offer comfort and support. Playlists are great ways to spread virtual cheer to a friend in need of a pick-me-up. Put together some of your favorite jams for a feel-good playlist.

2. Book, movie, and TV show recommendations

Think of the books that changed your life, the movies that gave you a new perspective, and the TV shows that never fail to make you laugh. Then add them to a list and send it to that person. That way, whenever they need a distraction, they can refer to the list.

3. Photo collage

Put together a photo slideshow of memorable photos throughout the years. It’s a simple gesture that can have a big impact. Your friend can play the slideshow on a loop on any screen to remind her of happy memories and lift her mood. You can also take this idea to print and create a scrapbook.

4. Subscriptions

Whether you get a subscription for farm-to-door delivery, Netflix, or a monthly box of spa products, this present is sure to be appreciated. And since it’s the gift that keeps giving, this gesture will continue to delight them each time they receive it.

In-person support

5. Grocery shop

Sometimes it’s little things like grocery shopping that can really help out a friend. Having a kitchen stocked full of food means they have one less thing to worry about.

6. Walk their pets

Sometimes it can be difficult for people to properly care for their dogs when they’re focused on recovering. Keep your friend’s pup active and happy. A good walk can tire out a dog so all he’d want to do is cuddle with your friend when he gets home.

7. Babysit or carpool

If your friend has kids, offer to pick them up from school. You can even offer to take them for a weeknight play date with your kids. A small break allows your friend to regain some energy.

8. Laundry patrol

Small chores like laundry are pushed to the back burner after a diagnosis. But having fresh clothes, towels, and sheets can help bring your friend comfort. Schedule time to help her out with her laundry.  

Homemade comfort

9. Meal-prep

Cook her lunch for the week or make a big batch of soup that she can freeze and eat as she pleases. Having pre-made meals on hand will make her day-to-day living easier. And it will help to ensure she’s eating healthfully and consistently. You can also schedule meals for sick friends so they do not have to worry about planning meals.

10. Care package ideas for a sick friend

There are endless items to put in a care package for a sick friend. If you send a care package to a sick friend, you could include sweatpants, teas, soft socks, magazines, gift cards, and whatever else you think may uplift their spirits.

11. Organized appointment binder

Appointments can get complicated. If you have keen organization skills, offer them to your friend. Put together a comprehensive guide to scheduling appointments. It will help her stay on top of everything.

Well wishes and other gestures

12. Start a CaringBridge site for your friend

CaringBridge makes it easy to journal, provide health updates, read well wishes from loved ones, post photos, and coordinate daily support tasks like meal trains, child care, or transportation assistance. Consider starting one for a friend going through a difficult diagnosis so you can help communicate their health journey to loved ones. Before you start a CaringBridge for someone else, be sure that they have given you permission.

13. Get well soon cards

It can be difficult to figure out what to say to someone who is sick. If you’re wondering what to write in a get well soon card, just be goofy and let your silly sideshow. Don’t be afraid to be a bit corny. And always speak from the heart.  

14. Weekly phone call

Whether you’re gabbing about the most recent episode of your favorite TV show or just listening to her vent about her fears, a phone call can go a long way. The goal is to ensure that your friend feels like she’s still got a normal life, even if she had to miss the book club for an appointment.

15. Bring flowers

It can also be difficult to know how to make someone who is sick feel better. But, a  bright bouquet of flowers is sure to put a smile on anyone’s face. Not to mention, the smell and colors can brighten any room.

16. Give them a keepsake

Find a special item to give to your friend that she can treasure as a small keepsake. She can bring it with her to appointments for comfort. Perhaps a small stuffed animal, a  keychain, or a homemade friendship bracelet?

More caregiving tips for a sick friend

  • Be sure you respect your friend’s desires. Before you offer your support to a friend, ask her if she would be open to receiving it.
  • If she accepts your offer, create a schedule for a few concrete ways you can help throughout the week, like cooking dinner every Monday.
  • Keeping on a set schedule will also help you keep up the momentum and to provide stability. You want to show her that you will be by her side throughout her recovery.
  • Maintain the same friendship you shared before. Do the same activities you have always enjoyed together, like cooking or playing cards.
  • Keep the lines of communication open. Listen to her needs and welcome honesty into your conversations. Her needs or preferences for accepting help may change over time.

How to help a sick friend with medical bills

We all know that medical bills are costly. And with healthcare costs rising, it’s no wonder that people struggle to pay their medical bills. You can offer financial support through crowdfunding. Even those with health insurance have to face costly out of pocket expenses that can pile up. Setting up a crowdfunding fundraiser for your friend can help ease her financial stress.

When it comes to picking a crowdfunding platform, you should check for important features like customer support and whether there are platform fees.

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