Tips, experiences and inspiration for supporting those with serious illness

Megan McAuliffe

The festive season can be a hectic time for many of us with Christmas parties to go to, gifts to buy and wrap, food shopping and preparation and putting the decorations up. Add cancer or another serious illness or injury to the mix with multiple appointments to attend, treatments and results, it can be extremely stressful.

Here’s five ways to bring some festive cheer to a friend or loved one over the Christmas period:-

Be available

Let your friend or loved one know you are there for them if they need help with anything. This could include collecting prescriptions, taking them to and from appointments and helping them with cooking and cleaning. You could also consider sending them a house cleaning gift voucher to assist them in the clean-up if they’ve hosted Christmas celebrations. (See the No More Grapes shop for Fantastic Services vouchers

Offer your company

Not everyone has Christmas parties to attend or families to celebrate Christmas with, or they may live far away, so offer to take your friend or loved one to the cinema, the theatre or for a drive to see the Christmas lights.

Allow for sadness

Christmas can bring up feelings of sadness, isolation and loneliness. If your loved one or friend is spending time with you over Christmas and they are experiencing feelings of loss and grief at this time, be patient with them and allow them space to cancel arrangements if they aren’t feeling up to it.

Don't treat them differently

Although your friend may need support with their cancer diagnosis, they may find it frustrating and feel angry and overwhelmed. The natural feeling is to protect them from these feelings and try to do everything for them. Let them know you are there to help, but allow them the space to ask for what they need and as much as possible, treat them the same as you always have.

Offer virtual support

Those going through cancer or another serious illness or injury need a break from visitors and social engagements, so signing them up to a private support network can be just the thing they need. Gathering a community of support online is a great way for them to know that they are loved and cared for, allowing them to respond when the time feels right for them.

Wishing you a relaxing and peaceful Christmas from all of us @nomoregrapes