If you have ever gone through a time of hardship or illness, then you likely know that when you aren’t feeling well, it seems like the world keeps piling the troubles and chores on top of you. Offering to help out a neighbor who is dealing with illness or injury could make a huge difference in their ability to keep things together and keep their life in order. If you are looking for more ways to show kindness to others, here are a few ways that you can make a big difference for your neighbor.
The first step in helping your neighbor is to figure out what things will be most helpful to them. You don’t want to accidentally burden your neighbor with lots of gifts or attention if that’s the last thing they want right now! Let your neighbor tell you what is causing them the most grief.
Encourage Them to Look to You for Help
If your neighbor is not the type to typically ask for help, they may be reticent to let you know what is causing them trouble. In this case, you might need to offer some suggestions. Be sure to keep an eye out for anything you notice. For example, if you see that some shingles have fallen off their roof, offer to repair them. Other offers could include:
- Bringing over cooked meals a few times a week. You can even get pre-made meals delivered to you if you have a really busy schedule. They might be embarrassed to burden you with this extra work, but they will be very appreciative!
- Coming to check on them every day or every couple of days just to make sure they are okay.
- Taking their kids on trips to keep them entertained on the weekends if your neighbor isn’t up for that, or picking them up from school or daycare. Also offer to take them to things like soccer practice and piano lessons. See if you can work out a schedule with another neighbor to coordinate multiple pick-ups and drop-offs if it would otherwise be too much of an inconvenience for your work schedule.
- Taking them to their appointments and even going in with them if they need someone to help them remember the doctor’s instructions.
Just Be There for Them
If your neighbor in need is a fellow mother, she may be feeling concerned or even a little guilty if she hasn’t been able to give her children as much love and attention because of the circumstances. It is important to be there for her and also remind her that she is a good mother, despite the difficult circumstances. There will certainly be those times when your neighbor needs something last minute or is having a small emergency and they need your help. Be sure you are available to help during those times of need. Sometimes it is not always possible to be there for them. If something comes up and you are unable to help them, be sure to still do what you can and offer alternatives. For example, call other neighbors or emergency responders. Have a backup system in place if your neighbor does frequently call on you for things.
Other ways you can just be there for your neighbor:
- Pay regular visits to their home or to the hospital. Make sure you check with the hospital staff so you know when appropriate visiting hours will be. Offer to drive their kids or arrange visits with other friends or family who can’t drive themselves there.
- Bring your friend a few personalized gifts that reflect their personality and will make them feel important and loved. No gift is better than the one that lets you know that your friends care about you and listen to you well enough to know your needs and interests. When someone is sick or injured, it’s a great time to be extra sure that they know how much you care.
- Provide distractions. Plan outings, if they are up to them, to small things like dinners at restaurants, movie dates, or shopping trips. If they aren’t up to anything like that, put on a movie night or mini-party at home for them. Invite over other friends or neighbors for small get-togethers, just to give them something to distract them.
Be Their Dedicated Listener
Sometimes, what a person needs most in a time of sickness or injury is just a friend to listen to them. Be a good listener and pay attention to their needs, requests, and concerns. If they need to call you in the middle of the night, be that considerate listener. Of course, do this within limits. You don’t want to jeopardize your own health and well-being just to be a considerate friend at all times. But sometimes, letting them know they are supported is just a matter of showing that you are listening. Most importantly, be a hero to your neighbor and remember to encourage them and remind them that soon this will all be behind them!