In 2011 my husband had to have invasive brain surgery for trigeminal neuralgia, a little known facial pain condition he had been suffering from for 4 years. As an expat spouse with school-aged children and no family close by, our family went on a roller coaster ride through the chronic illness-surgery–recovery maze. My blog is the silver lining that came from that experience. Through it I am looking to bring comfort by changing my readers’ everyday perspective and outlook on life.
I have learned that many people want to help when someone is in crisis or distress but not everyone knows how best to give comfort in the way it is needed. Through my blog Brainstorm one of my goals is to use my experiences as the primary caregiver, educator, counselor, hospice professional, spouse, parent and friend to demystify the role of effective caregiving, provide suggestions to help people help others effectively and laugh a little along the way!
Here are five suggestions from one of my blog posts.
1. The most important thing you can do first, is to LISTEN, openly without judgment or interruption.
This action shows the person that their words and feelings matter and that you are there to comfort them, not to try to solve their problems.
2. Listen carefully to their story and WHERE they are in the PROCESS of their challenge, illness or grief. This may give you clues as how to best help them.
3. Visit on THEIR time frame.
When someone is sick, is a caregiver or is grieving, time is very precious and precarious and there may only be small moments in the day when they can cope with a visit. If you say you are coming at 1:00 pm then making sure you are there on time and be mindful of how much time the person can handle you visiting.
4. If you want to bring a gift, try to check out what might be APPROPRIATE.
Although flowers and books are lovely, if the person has allergies or difficulty concentrating these may not be the best idea. Some freshly cut fruit or magazines might be alternatives.
5. Keep in REGULAR touch and FOLLOW THROUGH on your promises.
When someone is going through challenging times, their world is turned inwards. All their energy is channeled towards getting through the day minute by minute. They may not have the energy to call you back, write an email or even send a text. But don’t let that stop you from checking in. High stress and low support can lead to great isolation and a message or visit from you can make all the difference..
In collaboration with Treatment Diaries Gilly is thrilled to be able to discuss caregiving and bringing comfort. and also looks forward to raising awareness about trigeminal neuralgia. Learn more about the author – Gilly Cannon by visiting her blog Brainstorm at http://gillycannon.blogspot.com and following her on Twitter @bringingcomfort.
Join us for our weekly #treatdiarieschat on www.Twitter.com to learn more and share your personal experience on 7/23/13 at 8pm ET. In the meantime, join us at www.treatmentdiaries.com and learn through the words of others while privately sharing your personal experience.