How to support your loved one if you can’t visit

We share ways of being together even if we're far apart

Finding out that a friend or family member has been diagnosed with a terminal illness is difficult news at the best of times. For many of us, our first instinct is to be with that person and support them through what is to come. This may not always be possible due to the changing world we find ourselves in due to COVID-19. If you can’t spend face-to-face time with your loved one, there are other ways that you can enjoy being together:

Use video calling

It is always a comfort to hear a familiar voice and even more so to see a familiar face. Whether it’s WhatsApp, Zoom or Facetime, video calling can help simulate that feeling of being together while keeping you both safe.

A woman video calling using a phone

Send a card

When you were younger, the arrival of the post was cause for excitement; could it be a birthday card, a postcard, a letter? Growing older may have jaded the arrival of the post with the anticipation of bills and documents to sign, but the childish excitement and surprise can be rekindled with a simple letter or card. There is something so personal about a message in someone’s handwriting and you can always include a photo to make it that little bit more special.

Co-ordinate your telly time

If you share a love for a particular soap, drama or film, you could agree to watch it at the same time and share your reactions in real time via text or with a phone or video call afterwards.

Have a window visit

During lockdown, there have been many comforting moments of families meeting, separated only by a window pane, and even of grandparents meeting their grandchildren for the first time through the glass. If you live close to one another, you can ‘visit’ while still following government guidelines. Whether it’s just a wave through a window or a chat on the phone through the glass, seeing a friendly face could make their day.

Send a care package

Putting together a package of your loved one’s favourite things is a lovely way to show them that they are in your thoughts. Your care package could include their favourite snacks, a magazine or book, their preferred tipple… You know them best, so think about what could give them that little boost.

A woman kneeling next to an open cardboard box

Keep messaging

Sometimes it can be difficult to think of something to say. The beauty of our modern world means you don’t always have to; share a photo to spark some memories, send a video to make them giggle or a gif if you can’t think of the words. Keeping in contact and showing your support doesn’t have to be done with words.

Being apart can be hard

Not being able to hug, kiss and comfort each other in person goes against all of our natural instincts. It is okay to feel sad and frustrated about being apart. We all need to keep each other safe and finding ways to feel close when we are apart is more important than ever.