Where Do I Obtain Help?
Obtaining Help In The Community
One of the biggest initial difficulties for people living with chronic illness is accepting that, sometimes, you can’t do everything on your own. It can feel uncomfortable asking for help, but there are people and organizations in your community who truly want to be of service. When you need an extra hand, reach out to one of the outlets below in order to have your needs met.
Family and friends: Some people prefer to rely on familiar faces rather than people they don’t know. Identify one or two people in your social network who might be willing to cook a meal or help with errands on days where you’re not feeling as strong. One of these people can also serve as a “healthcare buddy” to make sure you’re staying on top of the daily tasks necessary to manage your illness. CareCalendar is a useful website that lets you list out the help you need and then enables family or friends to sign up to fill those specific needs.
Health Buddy: Some states offer these programs that allow you to take a more proactive approach to managing your chronic illness. Participants receive an electronic Health Buddy unit, as well as other necessary tools such as a blood sugar monitor and blood pressure cuff. Any information filled out on the unit is sent to local registered nurses, who review the data on a daily basis, and will contact either you or your primary care physician if they notice a potential issue.
Contact your primary care physician to see if your state offers the program and, if so, to receive a referral to participate in it.
Social service agencies: These agencies can connect you to support groups, help you enroll in programs and let you know about all the available benefits and services in your community. Some of these agencies include Area Agencies on Aging, Catholic Charities and Jewish Family Services. You can also see more in our resources section.
Community programs: These can include organizations like Gilda’s Club, which provides support groups, workshops and social events for people with cancer at community centers and clubhouses. They can also include door-to-door services such as Meals on Wheels, which delivers food directly to home-bound patients. Your local church or synagogue may also offer services or have access to volunteers.
For transportation needs, there are community programs that offer paratransit services for people with disabilities. This service is typically either free or at a reduced cost compared to public transportation. There are also organizations that will arrange a ride to a doctors visit or treatment for people who don’t have their own transportation. Your doctor or community social service agency may have that information.