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7 practical ways to help someone post-surgery

A young man laughs with an older man in a wheelchair at a kitchen table

Looking for simple ways you can offer support?

A young man laughs with an older man in a wheelchair at a kitchen table

When you have a friend or family member recovering from surgery, it’s natural to want to offer some help. But, if you ask them how you can lend a hand, chances are you’ll hear, “I’ll be okay” or “I don’t need anything”.

With that in mind, here are seven simple ways you can offer support.

1. Just be there

This first tip is pretty straightforward: show how much you care by simply being there. A visit can do more than lift their spirits; it’s also a chance to check on their mental and physical health and drop past a book you think they’ll enjoy or a bunch of flowers to brighten their day.

2. Clear a few of the household jobs

Mowing the lawn, running out for essentials like bread and milk (and a little choccie treat), putting on a few loads of washing or grabbing the basket to return everything laundered and folded the next day are a few practical ways you can provide help. Even those at home with a partner or helpful kids will benefit from an extra hand. Caring can take up a lot of their time, so it’ll help prevent them from burning out when they’re most needed.

A young woman smiles as she washes dishes at the kitchen sink

3. Taxi duty

Be it medical appointments, offering to take the kids to their activities or even the dog to the vet, playing Jeeves is another simple but useful way to lessen their load. It’s also an opportunity to have a chat and see how everyone is going. If you’re driving the kids around, you can ask them if there’s anything they need help with. Kids can be quite intuitive and concerned, and they may have been avoiding asking their recovering parent to help them with homework or other activities.

4. Provide meals

Be it an order from a food delivery service, a few grocery bags filled with essentials or some easy re-heat meals, it’s hard to go wrong with providing food. Go as healthy as you can, as people often have delicate stomachs after surgery. Easy to digest and nutrient-packed meals are ideal.

5. Call in the cleaners

While no one will ever ask for it, there are few people that won’t be beaming and better rested in a sparkling clean home with no effort on their behalf. This is a good one for relatives who live far away and want to help out. Add in some food delivery vouchers, taxi or rideshare credits or a month’s subscription to a TV streaming service, and you’ll be a shoo-in for Relative of the Year.

6. Care for their pets

Whether it’s feeding their cat and cleaning their litter trays, picking up pet food, dropping them at vet appointments or taking Fido for a walk, this is a simple way to make sure they’re stressing less about the pets they usually provide care for.

7. Care for their kids

Likewise, parental guilt can run high when parents are laid up following surgery, and children can get bored and restless (which translates to tantrums and lounge rooms strewn with toys). Take the kids out to a movie, spend an arvo at the park or just play with them at their home for a few hours.

Being stuck at home to recover post-surgery can drive even the sanest person a little crazy. So, if your friend or family member is getting restless at home, check out our article on seven activities that can help keep boredom at bay.

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