One of the reasons our team is so passionate about SkyBlue.com and the experience we want to create, is because of our own personal experiences. I have loved ones all over the United States, and many of them are aging parents or chosen parents. This means that health concerns come up from time to time - or even major events - and while I can't drop my job or my family to go and help, I know I can send things that can be meaningful. As we grow our site and our blog, we're going to offer a series of articles about various conditions and the things we have learned working to support from afar, with health care supplies, and with other ideas to help the whole person.
My first story is about my dad, who has a progressive kidney disease that strikes many older men. He has been living with this condition for years and while I felt pretty helpless, I knew there had to be some things I could do to help him cope and to support a healthy lifestyle.
I didn't send any supplies - so you won't find links within SkyBlue.com for this post - instead I focused on supporting my Dad where he was in his process.
Nourishing the Body and the Mind and the Spirit
The first thing that often springs to mind when I want to help someone is food. Sending prepared meals wasn't really called for in this instance so I went online and started doing research on diets and habits to support good kidney function and cook books that were well reviewed that might offer some beneficial support. I started on the National Kidney Foundation Website, which has a great list of cookbooks for kidney patients in all stages of disease - including cookbooks for people who are on dialysis. Now, the downside to this list is that you can't see which one is the most popular, so of course, I ended up on Amazon.com. A simple search for "cookbooks, kidney" lead me to all of the options, with ratings.
A few great options were:
My next thought was of my dad as a person - he is a poet and a person who enjoys walking in nature, bird watching and enjoying the outdoors on a fine day. I pictured him on one of those walks and wondered what I could send that might help him enjoy the moment and relax. So I also looked around for a beautiful leather bound journal. I wanted to find something smaller, that could fit in the pocket of his cargo shorts, and that would give him the opportunity to jot down a poem, create a pencil drawing, or just write his thoughts in the moment. Now this might not be the gift for everyone, but I'm including it because I think we all need to put ourselves in the shoes of someone we care about to offer a really thoughtful gift.
In this case, I sent something along the lines of this pocket leather notebook from Rustico.com.
Finally, I wanted to find something to support his activity level. My dad is a great athlete - but kidney disease take a lot out of a person. So I thought it might be a good plan to send some yoga! Yin Yoga has been a great source of relaxation and comfort to me, while also offering the health benefits of stretching and soothing strength training. It was easy enough to send along the Yin Yoga Website, but I also sent a Yin Yoga DVD and a yoga mat to encourage Dad to stay active while dealing with his condition.
By sending a couple of things to my Dad to support him, I hoped I was helping at least a little bit in his ongoing work through his condition.
What kinds of things have you done for your loved ones to help from afar?