Mental and emotional health is important to physical health. Likewise, someone who is very ill, may show some symptoms of depression or emotional distress from the strain his or her body is under. What can you, as someone who cares about someone who is ill, do to help buoy up their spirits and show them they are not alone?
A Thoughtful Gift
If distance prohibits a personal visit, a thoughtful gift can show you care. Choose something you know the person enjoys like a book by a favorite author or one of those m&m gift baskets. Avoid choosing an item they will be unable to use, such as an umbrella if they are housebound or nuts if they wear dentures.
If the person is able to safely leave their home, a peaceful drive through a scenic area may cheer them up. Or if they are up to it, treat them to lunch or a movie. Choose a time when fewer people will be around to reduce stress, like the hour before the lunch rush or a matinee.
A Relaxed Visit
An in-person visit can be very therapeutic. Allow the person to talk and share what they are going through. You could read to the person or catch them up on the latest (pleasant) news or gossip. Act as if there is no place you would rather be, but pay attention to cues indicating they are tired out, and graciously leave so they can rest.
A Little Tender Loving Care
A little TLC can go a long way. A haircut, manicure or pedicure can lift spirits. Arrange for a relaxing and therapeutic facial or body massage. Arranged to have it done at their home if they are not up to going out.
The most important thing to remember is just to be there. Show them you care and that they are important to you and worth the effort. There is not a lot that can encourage a person more.