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Caring for the Carers
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#1 Lightning_bug

Posted 02 January 2013 - 01:01 AM

My mum's best friend's daughter, who I've known since I was 14 but am not particularly close to, is having an incredibly tough time.  Her daughter is sick and without a diagnosis they're spending a lot of time in hospital.  They're stressed and exhausted and doing a fantastic job of providing care and love for their little girl but by the sounds of things they're ignoring their own self-care.

It's not my place to step in and tell them they need to take a break and lean on others for help but I want to do something because it's absolutely breaking my heart.

I'm thinking of making them up a 'ready-to-go' parents waiting room bag and I'm in the process of deciding what to put in it.  The idea is that it will be a bag with things to keep them occupied and to give them a break from their worries.

So far I'm thinking it should contain:
notepad and pen;
magazines (I'm thinking of buying them a subscription to their favourite mag);
an address book
an adult colouring book and pencils
puzzles/sudoko book
water bottle
muesli bars
A help-line kit with numbers of help they can contact...

What do you think?  Is it a silly idea?  If no, is there anything I'm missing?
Is there something better we could do (bearing in mind we live an hour away)?

#2 lylac

Posted 02 January 2013 - 02:10 AM

I think that sounds like a lovely idea.

In my experience long stays in hospital can be financially crippling, food and parking prices can be horrendous. If you know which hospital they frequent, I would check out the parking situation and perhaps buy them a Parking card. The major hospital in my area has a 5 exits for $85 card.

#3 Lightning_bug

Posted 02 January 2013 - 07:47 AM

Thanks Lylac, that's a good idea. biggrin.gif

#4 epl0822

Posted 02 January 2013 - 07:58 AM

Great idea. Maybe you can also include a bag with gold coins for parking if the hospital doesn't do parking vouchers. I know this is cheesy but maybe a voucher book with favours too? Like getting groceries, cooked dinner, etc. In my experience people tend not to take up on vague and generalised offers of "call me if you need anything."

#5 OneMore?

Posted 02 January 2013 - 07:59 AM

They may already get discounted parking ? Can you ask the parents as a great idea.

Also is there a coffee shop...can you buy a 5 or 10 coffee card - coffe is your friend when stressed and sleep deprived.

Can you cook a few meals and drop them off ? I know you live an hour away, home cooked meals are great.

My daughter spend a lot of time in hospital in her early days (undiagnosed) do you know what was the nicest thing - the friends that came and sat with me some nights and just let me talk, vent, cry. The ones that also bought dinner and a bottle of wine were pretty good too.

I think your idea is lovely. I was so tired and yes looking after me was last priority. I would look towards some healthy snacks too, and some chocolate original.gif

#6 KT1978

Posted 02 January 2013 - 08:07 AM

When dp was in hospital, I appreciated offers of a home cooked dinner (even if I couldn't stay because I had to get back to the hospital), my mum came and cleaned and I got fresh sheets, dad mowed.

#7 B.feral3

Posted 02 January 2013 - 08:09 AM

It sounds like a great idea OP.

I've had 2 kids with long hospital stays and 700k's away from home. The most crippling expense is food. DH and I were spending about $80 a day on food on average. Perhaps a gift voucher for the hospital cafe or restaurant/fast food near by? Maybe some snacks in the bag too like nuts or dried fruit?

Be careful with the parking. Families that have long hospital stays can get subsidised parking vouchers though the hospital social worker.  We were paying $8 a day to park instead of $26.

Edited by Bek+3, 02 January 2013 - 08:10 AM.

#8 baddmammajamma

Posted 02 January 2013 - 08:17 AM

What a lovely person you are!

I echo the suggestion of homecooked meals/meal vouchers and/or an array of snacks (including some healthy ones) for the long days at the hospital.

#9 NinjaMum

Posted 02 January 2013 - 08:45 AM

That sounds lovely OP original.gif

I have no further suggestions for the gift bag, you've got some wonderful things in there! I agree with PPs with food and parking being the two most expensive things. I find that when there's health issues, the first thing to go is all the home related stuff: eg. clothes washing, house cleaning, etc. I also found the home cooked meals a life-saver (especially ones that I could just pull out of the freezer when I got home).

Given you're an hour away, perhaps it would be worth making contact with a local community group (a church if they're involved in one maybe? or even the school when it goes back) to help with someone to pop in and do a quick house clean and toss a load of washing in once a week/fortnight?

#10 Lightning_bug

Posted 02 January 2013 - 09:48 AM

QUOTE (NinjaMum @ 02/01/2013, 08:45 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Given you're an hour away, perhaps it would be worth making contact with a local community group (a church if they're involved in one maybe? or even the school when it goes back) to help with someone to pop in and do a quick house clean and toss a load of washing in once a week/fortnight?

I think this is a lovely idea but do you think it would be a bit invasive a gift/suggestion from someone who isn't that close to the persons involved?

I don't want to cross from being nice into being pushy and overly helpful.

#11 Lagom

Posted 02 January 2013 - 11:27 AM

What a lovely and thoughtful thing to do.

Some things that we found useful/nice were:
nice soft tissues
healthy snacks that don't need refrigeration
fruit like bananas and apples that don't take preperation and keep well
gold coins for coffee/vending machine/parking or whatever
memory stick with TV shows or movies on it if they have a laptop with them
bottles of water/juice poppers
nice chocolates
single serve cereal packs and UHT milk if they stay overnight
nice hand lotion - washing your hands frequently dries them out

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