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How to Support Someone With A Sick Parent

How to Show Your Support to A Friend Whose Parent is Ill

Seeing someone you care about struggling with the illness of a parent can be heart-wrenching, and you may feel at a loss on how to help. Our with this guide is to offer several practical strategies to assist you in learning how to support someone with a sick parent.

Listen, Listen, Listen

One of the most straightforward ways to support someone with a sick parent is by being there for them, offering a listening ear when they need it. You don’t necessarily have to offer advice, just listening can help. Allow them to share their fears, frustrations, and worries without judgment. Your role is to provide comfort, understanding, and reassurance, not to solve the problem.

reaching out to support a friend with a sick parent
Be present and attentive.
Help Take Care of the Practical Stuff

When a loved one is unwell, everyday chores can feel overwhelming. You can lend a hand by assisting with grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, or even taking care of their children. If you’re unable to physically be there, consider sending over a meal, hiring a cleaning service for them, or using delivery services to help them out.

person in yellow gloves scrubbing a mirror
There are many practical ways you can help a friend with a sick parent.
Offer to Accompany Them to Hospital Visits

Hospital visits can be stressful and emotionally draining. Offering to accompany your friend or loved one can provide them with much-needed emotional support. Even just driving them to and from appointments can be a significant help.

Offering to accompany your friend and their parent means you can navigate, park the car, and pick them up.
Check-In Regularly

Stay in touch and check in on them regularly. You can use phone calls, texts, emails, or even handwritten notes. The important thing is to let them know that they are not alone, and that you’re there to provide support whenever needed.

Provide Distractions

Sometimes, distractions can be beneficial. Invite them to a movie, a walk in the park, or just over to your house for a meal. Try to understand if they decline your invitation – they might just need some quiet time. But do not give up; keep extending the invite.

Show Emotional Support

Let them know that it’s okay to feel what they’re feeling. A parent’s sickness brings up complex emotions, and it’s healthy to allow themselves to experience these feelings rather than bottle them up. Encourage them to take care of their mental health and seek professional help if necessary.

Respect Their Privacy

This is a challenging time for your friend or loved one, and they might not always want to share what they’re going through. Respect their boundaries and give them the space they need. They’ll open up when they’re ready.

Encourage Self-Care

With the stress of a parent’s illness, your friend or loved one may neglect their own wellbeing. Gently remind them that taking care of their own physical and emotional health is vital. Encourage them to eat well, exercise, and get plenty of rest. They might also find stress-relief techniques such as yoga or meditation helpful.

Self-Care doesn’t mean pedicures and spa days – sometimes it just means a good night’s sleep.
Provide Practical Support

If possible, help them navigate the medical system, understanding complex treatment options, insurance details, and hospital paperwork. This can be overwhelming for someone dealing with the emotional stress of a sick parent.

Don’t Forget to Say “I’m Here for You"

This simple phrase can mean so much to someone going through a tough time. Reassure them that you’re there for them, and that they can lean on you when things get tough.

In conclusion, supporting someone with a sick parent involves both emotional and practical help. You can provide comfort, help with everyday tasks, offer to accompany them on hospital visits, check in regularly, provide distractions, respect their privacy, encourage self-care, help navigate the medical system, and reassure them of your presence.

Use a Tool Like Give InKind to Organize Your Support

A practical way to provide support is through Give InKind. This online platform allows you to coordinate help from a distance. With Give InKind, you can create a care calendar to organize meal delivery, rides to medical appointments, and even child or pet care. It also allows for fundraising and sending gift cards if physical help is not possible due to geographical distance. The platform offers a way to communicate updates and needs to a wide network of friends, family, and community members willing to help.

You can also use Give InKind to provide emotional support. Through the platform, you can send thoughtful messages of encouragement, or share updates about your loved one’s condition with a broader community.

Remember, every little bit counts, and your support can make a significant difference during this challenging time. Leveraging resources like Give InKind can help make managing this difficult period a bit easier for your loved one and ensure that they feel supported and cared for.


Give InKind does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We have an affiliate relationship with many of the advertisers on our site, and may receive a commission from any products purchased from links in this article. See Terms & Conditions.

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