Dos and Don’ts of Supporting a Sick Friend or Relative

When someone we care about gets bad news about their health, we naturally want to help. Whether it’s holding someone’s hand through chemo treatments or just sending a thoughtful gift or card, we want to feel like we’re doing SOMETHING in the face of an illness that may leave us feeling quite powerless to help. I’ve experienced it to be quite nice to bring funny movies or video clips. Just download videos from Youtube (you can use a downloader like Pro Video Downloader), and put them on a DVD. Most hospitals have DVD players these days, so your friend or relative will be able to watch them when you’re not there.

how-to-visit-a-sick-friend_stk99529cor.s300x300When interacting with a gravely ill person, we often end up saying stupid things out of nervousness or confusion. Review these tips before your visit and you’ll have a much better chance of expressing yourself in a kind and helpful way.

Don’t compare your friend’s situation to someone else’s. Every medical case is different, and depending on their mindset at the time, they might take even the most positive statement the wrong way. For example, if you say the treatment they’re getting has a 90 percent success rate, they might focus on their chances of being in the unlucky 10 percent.

Don’t compliment their appearance if they look sick. If they know they look bad, you’ll lose credibility. And if they look good but feel awful, they might hesitate to share their true feelings out of fear of disappointing you.

Do let your friend or relative know you are there for them when they need you. The best way to do this is by letting them set the terms for when they need you and for what. Ask them to tell you when they want company and when they want to be alone.

Remember, the most important thing is honesty and availability! Don’t sugarcoat bad news, but be there to empathize with your friend over it.