A notebook with pockets in it is ideal to help keep all information together in one place. You can purchase a Care Directory notebook at places like CVS. It has helpful sections for organizing.
These can be ordered online or at a jewelry store and tend to be comforting to people. You can add a note that says “If this feels, right then wear it. If not, hold on to it for maybe another time or throw it out if you hate it. XOXOXOX”
Plant a tree or purchase a star in honor of a loved one who has passed. When Megan’s father went home to God, friends planted a tree for him in Megan’s front yard. It is a constant reminder that his love is always with her.
In the days leading up to an appointment, test results or event happening, leave messages that reflect positivity to point your minds in the direction of healing. Before the results start saying things to each other like:
“Awesome! A clear scan! This is so great and we are so blessed!”
“Oh my god I’m so glad the drive to the surgery was so easy and quick! No traffic! Woohoo!”
“Thank God that the check for medical bills is on its way to you!!”
This idea may sound nutty, but it helps.
Heartworker Kelly had a friend whose daughter was in an accident and she had no idea what to drop off at the hospital. She thought maybe an extra charger would be helpful. A 10-foot phone charger allowed this mom to lie in the hospital bed with her daughter and still access her phone. Extra chargers are always a help and long ones give people more freedom to be where they want to be in a room.
Bring them over a plate of veggies and/or fruit to just leave out on the kitchen table. A lot of foods that come into the house during a crisis are heavy in carbs (lasagna, lasagna, lasagna!), which are delicious, but can catch up with you pretty quickly and leave you feeling lethargic and down. Cut up veggies or fruit is an easy grab. It will add something healthy to whatever delicious treats are coming their way. (Remember a pretty, disposable plate so there is no expectation of returning the dish.)
Set up grocery delivery for the family so that the house is stocked with food and no one has to go out. Ask about likes/dislikes/allergies. Include the tip on the order so the family does not have to worry about it.
Nothing can replace the sound of the voice of someone you love. Texting is great, but a voicemail can be even better. On days you know someone is particularly struggling, organize friends to leave voicemail messages with no expectation that the phone will be answered.
Take a traditional idea and make it personal with signatures. This can also be done with soccer balls, hockey sticks, etc., from teammates, neighbors or friends.
Directions and plans are usually good for kids when they are struggling with grief or illness in their family. When Megan was struggling in college, her dad would send her a $20 bill every week to get a pizza with her friends. It’s a simple, fun idea to Venmo a college kid some money with a text that says “Do something fun with your friends this week!” It will give them something to look forward to.