If you know someone who has a serious illness, having major surgery or having a baby, and will need some recovery time, people generally want to help by bringing food or calling to see how the person is doing. And the more friends and family, the more food and the more phone calls there will be. Sometimes to the point that the person is overwhelmed with food and not getting any rest.
You may be familiar with both of these resources, but I was not aware of either until a few years ago. I was telling a friend recently that I had moved around so much during my life that I never got close to more than one or two people at a time, and I really didn’t know about all the etiquette rules in these situations. I had to laugh when she said “Unlike living in a small town where everybody’s in your business.”
Here are a couple of wonderful free resources we started just before my friend went in for surgery last week: an online “communication” site and a meal scheduler.
A meal train is when friends and family take turns taking food to someone in need. For a couple of friends in the past, I just kept track on paper, and made phone calls for reminders. This time I set everything up online on mealtrain.com. It’s free to set up with just one meal per day. (They do charge a few dollars for the upgraded version.) The site has a lot ot tips and ideas, and if you are unfamiliar with it, there are easy to follow directions on how to set it up.
I set it up for meals for every other day for a few weeks. Friends and family members can open the site, pick one of the available dates and list the foods they will be delivering. The site will send email reminders a week before and the day before to the person signed up for a particular day.
Caringbridge is a wonderful non-profit site which offers a free, ad-free private place to share updates. It’s an easy way to communicate with friends and family during treatment and recovery until the patient is up to making phone calls and having visitors. Once someone sets up a page, that person can post updates for other family and friends. They in turn can leave comments. When the patient is up to it, they can respond to comments, instead of telling individuals the same thing over and over again.
So far, my friend has had some amazing meals delivered to her and her husband by friends. I have already taken her my Salsa Verde Chicken and Semi-Homemade Enchilada Dinner. On my next scheduled day on Meal Train, she put in a request for the Best Potato Soup.
I hope you never need to use these resources, unless it’s for a new mama, but these are extremely helpful sites to make caring for a patient a little easier and less worrisome.