22 answers

Ideas for Friend's Sick Mother

I have a strange question. I have a very good group of 6 friends. One of them has had family health issues for the past few years. About 3 years ago her father fell off a ladder while hanging xmas lights and is now semi-paralyzed from the chest down. Then this year her mother was taken to the hospital with what they thought to be a stroke, but turned out to be Bells Palsey (Sp?). Since then they have done more tests and she has been diagnosed with lung cancer which they have now found out has spread to her liver. Depending on treatments and their outcomes she has anywhere between 6months and 5 years to live. My friend has a 2 year old boy and works full time and has been spening the night with her mother to take care of her if she gets sick from her chemo treatments.

When her father first fell and had to be in the hospital for a few months, myself and my group of friends pitched in and put together a basket of snacks, magazines, gift cards to local restaurants, etc to have at the hospital. And when her mother was in the hospital when they had thought she had a stroke we each took turns and made a meal for the family.

But now that heer mother has cancer and our friend is running back and forth from her own family, to her mother we are at a loss for something to do for her, her sister and her brother. And I forgot to mention that throughout this her grandmother has been in and out of the hospital with seizures and other ailments.

My question is, does anyone have any ideas or thoughts as to what we can do for her and her family that will help her. She doesn't need childcare for her son, between day care and her husband she is set. Do we do the meal thing again? What else can we do for her that will help her out and make her life a little less hectic? Tahnk you for any ideas you can give.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Dear A., Here are a few suggestions...
--you may think that the childcare is taken care, but maybe dad needs a break sometimes too.
--Dinner or lunches for her husband to bring to work
--Housework, dishes, laundry, yardwork, grocery shopping for their families is ALWAYS helpful
--Pay a utility in the name of the sick or healthy, one less bill a month would be PRICELESS

Good luck and what a good friend you are. A. in MA, mother of a beautiful yet mouthy 10 year old daughter

I think what would help the most is to give her more time. What I mean is provide her with services that allow her the free time to spend with her family without having to work at home as well. Could you get her a house cleaner? Or order her groceries?
Good luck, sounds like you are a very good friend. :)

More Answers

A gas card would be appreciated and maybe a fast food card...I know, not to healthy, but sometimes helpful when pressed for time.
Even a toy/movie for her son.

If you have a group of people willing to contribute, I might suggest getting food from Schwan's delivered. The quality of the food is fantastic and as long as they have the freezer space to store the food you can get them entrees, side dishes, veggies, desserts and even snacks and other stuff that will make meal planning much easier and prep almost non-existent. You can go online to www.schwans.com to look at what they have to offer and you can call them to get a catalog or talk to someone about the service. This allows you all to pool your resources and get them something they can really use. You can even ask them for preferences.

Hope that helps. L.

Dear A., Here are a few suggestions...
--you may think that the childcare is taken care, but maybe dad needs a break sometimes too.
--Dinner or lunches for her husband to bring to work
--Housework, dishes, laundry, yardwork, grocery shopping for their families is ALWAYS helpful
--Pay a utility in the name of the sick or healthy, one less bill a month would be PRICELESS

Good luck and what a good friend you are. A. in MA, mother of a beautiful yet mouthy 10 year old daughter

The first two things I thought of that I would want: someone to grocery shop and do housework/laundry! You could even pitch in to have a housecleaner come if you didn't want to or didn't feel comfortable doing it yourself. Meals are always appreciated in these types of situations. I know somebody who went through a tough time recently and they started leaving a cooler by the back door. They never knew what they would find in it when they got home, but people always came through with meals and things to help them out!

Good luck to your friend. She is lucky to have such a wonderful group of friends!

Anything that will help save her some time - meals, going grocery shoppng for her, any other errands, car pooling if she needs it, house cleaning, laundry, etc. All the stuff that needs to get done that just can't will help her tremendously. You sound like a great friend!!

My grandfather is currently dying of cancer, and while helping to care for him my grandma had to be admitted to the hospital as well. My parents are doing the brunt of the work since my Mom is a nurse and my Dad has his own business (and all of the other children are not able to help out). I've been trying to help out where I can, but since I have 2 kids there hasn't been a lot that I could do.

I am sure that some of the following could be very helpful to your friend:

*cleaning (of either or both homes)~ either have a rotating schedule for each house once a week or get together and chip in for a temporary maid service

*grocery shopping or other errands

*meals are very helpful too! Even if you premake and freeze a few for here and there that are easy for her to heat up, it makes a big difference! Often people caring for others forget how important it is to eat right and keep themselves healthy and resort to unhealthy snacks to tide them over.

*offer to sit with her family if she needs to get out to get her hair or other pampering done

*spa gift certificate? (with the help needed to spend a few hours away so she can be fully pampered without taking her worries with her).

*staying with her parents so she can have some quality time with her husband and son

... childcare could be helpful in less obvious ways ~ her husband might need a childcare break to help refresh everyone in the household.

... and another final thought ~ ask her what she needs most.

During my grandparents hospitalizations and my own (i've been hospitalized for many months at a time ~ most recently was pregnancy complications and baby in NICU). Often its the little things that help the most. Visiting with her and just helping her destress is really more helpful than you can imagine. I was very thankful when different people stepped in to help care for my oldest daughter while I was in the hospital with my youngest daughter. Most recently I've made my intentions known to my parents that I'd like to help in whatever way I can ~ even though I live 6 hours from them and have 2 kids I expressed my willingness to do what was needed. I also expressed that I didn't want to get in the way or cause more work for them, so if they wanted me to stay home rather than help, that I understood that as well.

It is really great that you have such a group of friends that supports each other!!

Best Wishes!!!

Hiya A.

What an awesome group of friends you friend has. I recently lost my mother to cancer and I will share what helped most. Meals because we were so busy taking care of her we had little energy to prepare meals. People volunteered to sit with my mother so I could have a break. My mother in law took care of my children so I could focus on my mom, and I had a friend who would take them to fun places. She was a godsend. People came over to help me keep the house clean.

I had folks asking me all the time what they could do and I either couldnt think of anything at the time or was reluctant to impose. Folks caught on to that and stopped asking and just started doing what they thought needed to be done when they came over.

My thoughts and prayers go out to your friend, you and the other angels in her life.

Not a strange question at all! I'd also be looking for what to do... but on the outside looking in, sometimes it's easier to figure that out. How about going to their house and cleaning, doing laundry, etc. once or twice a week? I know those daily things are what get in the way of helping others or even doing things we WANT to do! THe meal thing is also helpful I think. I don't know where they all are, but I know that some areas have meal kitchens that you can go to and pack up as many night meals as you need, with all the sides and everything and it can all be frozen and used as needed. I know they have packages too for like 12 meals if you wanted. I've been wanting to try this myself as a huge time saver. I think there is one in Kingston, MA, and I think closer to Boston somewhere... not sure where you are located.

The other thing you might consider as a touching idea is to visit these sick people (mom, grandmother, etc.) and try to get them to privately write personal letters to your friend and her family... and you can preserve them in a scrapbook for them or have them custom framed. This might be something they'll love to have when eventually they are no longer here. That is something that nobody would think of doing while running around trying to care for everyone!!

Good luck - sorry to hear about all the ailments and troubles.

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