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How to offer or ask for help during an emergency with facebook

Don’t bother trying to call Facebook.

If you dial either of the Palo Alto-area phone numbers for the social media mega platform, (those are 650-543-4800 and 650-308-7300, for the record), you’ll get a recording. It will talk you through a series of menus, with each option directing you to send an email to an appropriate account. These include [email protected] for media inquiries and [email protected] for law enforcement concerns.

But if you hit 1 for customer service? The recording will direct you to click the word “Help,” saying that it’s “found at the bottom of any Facebook page.” Here’s the thing: it isn’t. In fact, if you’re on your main Facebook feed, there is no “bottom” of the page.

Here are a few things you can do instead.

How to contact Facebook customer support

If you want to contact Facebook, you’ll first need to log into your account. On the desktop site, look up at the top right corner of the screen. There, you’ll see a downward-facing arrow — click it and select “Help & support” from the dropdown menu. From there, you can select “Help Centre,” “Support Inbox,” or “Report a problem.”

Click on “Report a problem” and another menu will pop up that features two clickable options: “Help us improve the new Facebook” and “Something went wrong.”

If you have a suggestion to make about a dysfunctional feature, select “Help us improve the new Facebook.” Or, if you’ve encountered an issue with the site, choose “Something went wrong” to fill out a short form outlining your complaint. But for more general customer service inquiries, Facebook is rather inscrutable.

Your best bet may be to go to the Help Community and ask your question to other platform users like yourself.

How to ask the Facebook Help Community a question

From any Facebook page, again click that downward-facing arrow, click “Help & support,” and select “Help Centre.”

On the Help Center page, scroll down as far as you can. On the left near the bottom of the page, click “Visit Help Community.”

You will be taken to a page where lots of questions have already been answered. Navigate through the tabs at the top of the page to find a category relevant to your question, or type your question into the search bar at the top. Click on one of the results to find the answer to your question.

How to contact Facebook via other social media platforms

Another way to attempt to connect with Facebook is to reach out to them through or mention them on another social media platform. You can send a direct message to FB via Twitter or use their @Facebook Twitter account in a Tweet you post. If it gets enough traction, they will likely see it.

So too can you approach via Instagram, including Facebook in a post, but unless you get a lot of love on that snap, chances are you’re better back on the Facebook Help Centre.

In emergencies, we turn to social media to connect with loved ones and provide assistance, but information is often dispersed across multiple platforms, and finding aid can be difficult.

Facebook hopes its new tool can be a one-stop-shop for people in natural disasters or emergency situations. It’s geared both for people who are looking for help and those who are offering it.

The new tool, Community Help, is an addition to the Safety Check feature that lets people mark themselves as safe in emergencies.

Now, Safety Check can be used for organizing a community response offline. People can mark themselves as safe on Facebook and then visit the emergency’s Community Help page to see what people need or offer things like housing, food or transportation.

Safety Check is activated automatically when enough people on Facebook ( FB ) in the same geographic area talk about an emergency.

The company is first alerted to emergencies through third-party crisis reporting organizations. Facebook then tracks the conversation around the emergency in the location where it happened. If enough people post about it, Safety Check is activated, and people in the area are alerted to mark themselves as safe.

Following the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, people used social media to offer housing to strangers. More than 4 million people marked themselves safe in Paris on Facebook, according to the company.

Community Help will feature about 10 different aid categories, including food, supplies, shelter and transportation.

Let’s say Mary marked herself as safe during a flood, but needs a place to stay temporarily. She can visit the flood’s Community Help page through Safety Check, and tap “shelter” to find a place to stay. She might see a post from John offering an extra room. If they have any mutual friends in common, they’ll appear under John’s post. Mary can message John via Facebook, or comment on his post, to ask for help.

A map at the top of each category plots where posts are shared, so people can find what’s closest to them.

Facebook won’t vet the posts, meaning people will often be placing trust in those they don’t know. However, the company will prevent users under 18 and those with brand new accounts from requesting or offering help. People can report posts they feel could be threatening or unsafe.

The new tool also makes it easy for people to mark whether they’ve received help, or if it’s no longer available.

When you want to help someone, how do you make your offer in English?

There are a lot of different ways to offer your assistance. Which phrase you should choose depends on the situation. Here are some English phrases for offering help that you should definitely know! They’re arranged roughly in order from most casual to most formal.

1. I’ll (do something).

This is a really simple, casual way to offer to help someone. Use this phrase when you’re pretty sure that the other person will be happy to receive your help.

I’ll hold the door open for you.

2. Let me (do something).

If you want to be a little more polite, but still very friendly, use “Let me. “

That’s a good question. Let me find out for you.

3. Why don’t I (do something)?

Sometimes you’re not quite so sure that your help will be welcomed. In that case, “Why don’t I. ” might be a better choice than the previous two expressions.

Why don’t I send you an email outlining what we talked about today, and you can just respond to that?

You can also say “Why don’t we. “:

Even though “Why don’t I. ” is phrased as a question, it’s pronounced as a statement. Your voice doesn’t rise at the end.

4. Do you want me to (do something)?
Do you want (something)?

If you’re even less sure about your offer, then you should ask and wait for an answer. The phrase “Do you want. ” is a good choice.

You can also leave off “Do” at the beginning in spoken English:

5. Would you like me to (do something)?
Would you like (something)?

Similar to “Do you want me to. “, this phrase is a little more formal.

Would you like me to close the window?

You might use “Would you like me to. ” with customers, or with relatives who you don’t see very often.

6. I can (do something).

You can also make polite offers with “I can. “

For example, an employee in a clothing store might say this to a customer:

Or you can say to a guest in your home:

7. Can I (do something)?

In formal situations, you can offer help by asking “Can I. ” It makes it seem like you’re really happy to help. This is a good choice for social situations like having guests in your home.

Can I recommend the Cabernet Sauvignon?

8. I’d be happy to (do something).

This is another formal phrase. You can use it in business and professional situations.

I’d be happy schedule a time to meet and talk with you about it.

9. May I offer you (something)?

This is a very formal way to make an offer. It sounds fancy.

There are no hard-and-fast rules about when you can use each phrase and when you can’t. But hopefully this article will get you started on picking the best phrase for each situation.

Don’t bother trying to call Facebook.

If you dial either of the Palo Alto-area phone numbers for the social media mega platform, (those are 650-543-4800 and 650-308-7300, for the record), you’ll get a recording. It will talk you through a series of menus, with each option directing you to send an email to an appropriate account. These include [email protected] for media inquiries and [email protected] for law enforcement concerns.

But if you hit 1 for customer service? The recording will direct you to click the word “Help,” saying that it’s “found at the bottom of any Facebook page.” Here’s the thing: it isn’t. In fact, if you’re on your main Facebook feed, there is no “bottom” of the page.

Here are a few things you can do instead.

How to contact Facebook customer support

If you want to contact Facebook, you’ll first need to log into your account. On the desktop site, look up at the top right corner of the screen. There, you’ll see a downward-facing arrow — click it and select “Help & support” from the dropdown menu. From there, you can select “Help Centre,” “Support Inbox,” or “Report a problem.”

Click on “Report a problem” and another menu will pop up that features two clickable options: “Help us improve the new Facebook” and “Something went wrong.”

If you have a suggestion to make about a dysfunctional feature, select “Help us improve the new Facebook.” Or, if you’ve encountered an issue with the site, choose “Something went wrong” to fill out a short form outlining your complaint. But for more general customer service inquiries, Facebook is rather inscrutable.

Your best bet may be to go to the Help Community and ask your question to other platform users like yourself.

How to ask the Facebook Help Community a question

From any Facebook page, again click that downward-facing arrow, click “Help & support,” and select “Help Centre.”

On the Help Center page, scroll down as far as you can. On the left near the bottom of the page, click “Visit Help Community.”

You will be taken to a page where lots of questions have already been answered. Navigate through the tabs at the top of the page to find a category relevant to your question, or type your question into the search bar at the top. Click on one of the results to find the answer to your question.

How to contact Facebook via other social media platforms

Another way to attempt to connect with Facebook is to reach out to them through or mention them on another social media platform. You can send a direct message to FB via Twitter or use their @Facebook Twitter account in a Tweet you post. If it gets enough traction, they will likely see it.

So too can you approach via Instagram, including Facebook in a post, but unless you get a lot of love on that snap, chances are you’re better back on the Facebook Help Centre.

Eric Ravenscraft has nearly a decade of writing experience in the technology industry. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, PCMag, The Daily Beast, Popular Science, Medium’s OneZero, Android Police, Geek and Sundry, and The Inventory. Prior to joining How-To Geek, Eric spent three years working at Lifehacker. Read more.

Whenever there’s a natural disaster, your friends and family will want to know that you’re safe. Facebook has tried to make this easier with its Safety Check feature. Here’s how to let everyone you know on Facebook that you’re safe with a couple clicks, instead of messaging everyone individually.

Facebook aims to automatically activate Safety Check if you’re in the area of a disaster it knows about. If you live in an area where a number of people are posting about an event, Facebook may send you a notification asking if you’re safe. If you get a notification like the one below, simply click it and choose I’m Safe. Facebook will then create a post marking you safe in the area.

If you don’t get that notification, you can open the Safety Check section here. On this page, you’ll see a list of events that have affected you or your family. Click the one you’re affected by.

On this page, there’s a banner at the top of the page asking if you’re in the affected area. If you are, click Yes and you can mark yourself safe or not. You can also ask your friends if they’re safe from this page.

If you scroll down a bit on the emergency event page, there’s a module in the side bar where you can donate to various organizations who are working on relief effort. Usually, several non-profits have fundraisers set up (or you can start your own, if you want).

If you’re in an affected area, you hopefully won’t have to dive this deep into the Safety Check tool to mark yourself safe, but it’s good to know how to do so if you need to.

When crisis strikes, Facebook users often turn to the platform to let friends and family know they’re safe.

In the last year, since the social media company launched its Community Help tool, people have also used Facebook to ask for emergency assistance and aid, or offer help to those who’ve been affected.

Now Community Help is getting another feature: Businesses and nonprofits can post about relief services and volunteer opportunities while connecting with victims in need. Lyft, Chase, Direct Relief, Feeding America, Save the Children, and the California Department of Forestry and Fire are among the first organizations and businesses to get the feature.

“Enabling organizations and businesses to post in Community Help will give them a new way to reach communities impacted by crises,” Asha Sharma, product lead of Social Good for Facebook, wrote in a blog post announcing the update.

Sharma said in an interview that participating companies and organizations could help with preparing for a disaster, survival during a crisis, and recovery afterward. In particular, they may be able to address needs like shelter, transportation, and food.

Lyft, for example, offered “relief rides” during Hurricanes Irma and Harvey to provide safe transportation to local survivors. The company partnered with local governments, shelters, and hospitals to reach people. Now, according to a statement released by Mike Masserman, head of social impact at Lyft, the company can also use Community Help to provide rides directly to those who need them during a crisis.

The feature makes it possible for businesses to see requests for help and to respond to or message directly with the user. They can also post requests for volunteers in specific areas.

That engagement will be key to effectively reaching people via Community Help, which has logged more than 750,000 posts, comments, and messages for over 500 different crises, since its launch a year ago.

Sharma said that only companies and organizations with a verified Page can post to Community Help. Facebook is watching the update closely for any signs that people might be misusing the feature to scam or mislead crisis survivors and those who want to volunteer their time and resources during the aid and recovery process.

Facebook’s goal, said Sharma, is to help companies and organizations find out not just where disaster survivors are, but what they actually need. That information, she added, is data that Facebook felt a “responsibility” to share so that communities could mobilize in a time of crisis.

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By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated May 18, 2022 | Published January 13, 2021

Updated May 18, 2022

Published January 13, 2021

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There are many different ways to approach someone for assistance, and each way has its own advantages. One common way to reach out for help is through email. If you choose this method, it’s important to understand how to write an effective message. In this article, we explain why it’s beneficial to ask for help by email and how to ask for help by email, and we provide several examples of emails asking for help.

Why is asking for help by email beneficial?

Asking for help by email can help you organize your thoughts before reaching out to someone, and it shows the person you are asking that you respect their time. Emails are often less time-sensitive than a phone call and less invasive than visiting someone in person. Using email to ask for help can give your colleague, supervisor or contact time to evaluate and research your question.

Asking for help using email can also help you narrow down your question and edit your approach. When you take the time to write out an email, you might process the situation differently than you would if you asked the question aloud without giving it as much thought. The specific and direct language you can use in an email can also help you eliminate unnecessary details.

How to ask for help via email

Follow these steps to ask for help using email:

1. Use a clear, direct subject line

Use the subject line to clearly express what your email is concerning, especially if you don’t know the recipient well. The subject line can act as an introduction to your email. The person you are asking for help may be more interested in the body of your email when they are interested in or curious about the subject.

2. Greet your reader

Including a greeting can help the email seem more personal and set the tone for the rest of the content. The greeting you choose can give your reader an idea of how formal or informal your email will be. Be sure to spell their name correctly and use the appropriate honorifics (for example, using “Dr.” instead of “Mrs.” if the recipient has a Ph.D. or medical degree).

3. Establish your credibility

You should introduce yourself and show the value of your communication in the first sentence, especially if you haven’t had previous contact with the recipient. Give your credentials and explain how you came in contact with the individual. If you are more familiar with them, you can start by giving context for your problem or question.

4. Put the question in the first or second sentence

Ask your question early in the email so that the recipient can find it easily. Many people skim their emails, so placing the question or request early in the email helps ensure that they will see it. Positioning the question at the top of the email also helps them determine whether they can help without spending too much time sorting through information.

5. Use a call to action to clarify the next steps

People are often more likely to help you when they know how to proceed. If you are looking for answers to a question, you can specify where you looked or why your research didn’t turn up the answers you were looking for. If you are asking for another kind of help, such as asking the recipient to complete a task, you should provide clear instructions and goals.

6. Make your email easy to read

Many people check their emails between tasks, so you want to make your email easy to skim. If you have a lot of information to include, you can use bullet points and bolded text to help your reader easily recognize the most important points.

7. Give your reader a deadline

To give your reader a better understanding of what you need and when make sure to tell them your timeline. When you give the recipient a time frame for when you need their help, it allows them to determine whether they can give your request the attention it deserves. Knowing when they need to answer can also help alleviate stress and help them build your request into their schedule.

8. Close the email politely and thoughtfully

When you close your email, you should thank the recipient for their time and assistance. They may be more inclined to respond if it’s clear that you respect their other obligations and expertise. Thoughtful closing sentences can also build goodwill and friendship.

9. Edit before you send

Editing your email before you send it can help you determine if you are using the correct tone and if you made any grammatical mistakes. You may also find that you should adjust the amount of detail you provide.

Asking for help email examples

Here are some examples of emails asking for help:

Email asking for help from colleagues or supervisors

Subject: Stable Feeds Contact Information
Hello, Julia!
I’m Stefan, the new account manager. Could you send me the contact information for Stable Feeds’ inventory manager? I’m trying to reach out to Stable Feeds for their monthly order, but I can’t find their information in the database. You can send it here or over text.
I’ll be in the office until 5:30 pm today, and I’ll be back at 9 am tomorrow. I would like to try reaching out to them before lunchtime tomorrow, if possible.
Thank you for your help!
Stefan Herrera

Email asking for help filling a volunteer position

Subject: Volunteer Position at FurNation Animal Rescue
Dear Dr. Smith,
My name is Evelyn Dane, and I am the Chairperson of the FurNation Animal Rescue Board of Directors. I am contacting you today to ask if you would be interested in volunteering your skills for five to 10 hours a week to help treat rescued farm animals.
Your expertise and skills would be a great benefit to us, the animals and the community. We hope to have the position filled by Friday, June 22.
Details about the position and the organization are attached. Please email or call me at 945-684-1532 if you have any further questions.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope to hear from you soon.
Sincerely,
Evelyn Day
Board of Directors Chairperson
FurNation Animal Rescue

Email asking for help ordering a product

Subject: Trouble Pre-Ordering a Product
Dear Class Act Cosmetics,
My name is Jaime Collette. I am trying to pre-order the Rosie Rouge Palette, but the palette won’t save in my cart. Is there a way to fix this issue or another way to pre-order it?
I have several other items in my cart, including another pre-order. I have also tried logging out of the website, refreshing the page, restarting my browser, clearing my cart and accessing the palette from your pre-order announcement email.
My contact number is 856-305-3486. I hope to hear back from you soon.
Thank you,
Jaime Collette

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated June 28, 2022 | Published December 12, 2019

Updated June 28, 2022

Published December 12, 2019

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This article has been approved by an Indeed Career Coach

Salary advances can be beneficial to someone facing a financial difficulty. An advance on an employee’s salary can help them overcome a momentary setback without having to take out a bank loan. If you’re thinking about asking for a salary advance, you need to understand the best options for when and how to ask.

In this article, we discuss what a salary advance is, when to ask for one and the steps you should take when requesting one.

What is a salary advance?

A salary advance is when your employer agrees to give you a portion or the entirety of a future paycheck before your usual payday. Salary advances involve a private loan agreement that exists between you and your employer. The policy for handling salary advances varies by employer. Salary advances should not be taken lightly, and the process of acquiring one requires thought and tact.

When to ask for a salary advance

Salary advances are granted only when an employee is experiencing an unexpected financial setback, such as a family emergency, bereavement costs or health bills that are not covered by insurance. Salary advances are typically only a valid option if you have already exhausted other resources, like borrowing from a family member or selling some of your valuables. You also should only request an advance on your salary once, if possible. A generous employer might be willing to offer a salary advance, but it’s best not to make it a habit.

How to ask for a salary advance

Your goal is to respectfully request a salary advance while preserving a good working relationship with your employer so be thoughtful about how you approach it. Here are some steps to take when asking for a salary advance:

Consider your options

Research your employer’s policies

Prepare your request

Get it in writing

Attend to your affairs

1. Consider your options

Before you start the process of requesting a salary advance, take some time to carefully think about your situation in its entirety. Consider your relationship with your employer, your reason for asking for the advance and how you expect to be able to pay back the loan in the future. If you are unsure about any of these elements, investigate other options for getting the funds you need. If you have considered the situation and are still confident that you need a salary advance, you can move on to the next step.

2. Research your employer’s policies

If your employer has offered salary advances before, there is most likely a document that details the company’s specific policy. Find this information in your employee handbook, through HR or by asking your employer directly. Make sure that your reason for submitting the request is considered valid by your employer, and follow any specific instructions for how to start the process.

3. Prepare your request

To begin the salary advance process, write a detailed request in a letter or schedule a meeting with your supervisor

. This request should not be brought up in casual conversation but should be approached professionally and with some formality. Your request should include the specific reason why you need the advance, exactly how much you need and how you intend to pay it back. You should also explain your plan for making this a one-time request.

Be prepared for your employer to deny your request or to ask that you make some changes to your terms. Be willing to negotiate, but be honest if they suggest a repayment plan you are not able to meet. Remember, if you are borrowing from a future paycheck, your next paycheck will be smaller than usual. Take all these factors into account when settling on terms.

4. Get it in writing

After you and your employer decide on the terms of the loan agreement, you will need to draft a simple document that outlines the advance amount and the repayment plan. Your employer may deduct the entire amount from your next paycheck or may agree to take smaller portions from several upcoming paychecks. After the document is written, you and your employer need to sign it so that both parties are legally protected.

In addition to the contract, you should also write a sincere thank you note

. Your supervisor is not required to grant you a salary advance, so you should show your appreciation for their empathy and flexibility. Thank them specifically for their time and for their thoughtfulness.

5. Attend to your affairs

After you have used the advance to regain control of your financial situation, you will need to start working toward paying back the loan. You might also be able to use this opportunity to reassess your financial state. If you do not already have them, consider starting an emergency fund or a budget

, opening a savings account or writing a contingency plan. If you start preparing now, you are not likely to need another salary advance in the future.

Salary advance request letter example

Here is an example of a salary advance request letter you can use to help you write your own:

I am writing to request a $750 salary advance on my November 15 paycheck, please. My sister-in-law passed away yesterday, and I need the funds to buy last-minute, cross-country airplane tickets. This expense is completely unexpected, and I regret to say that I am unable to pay for my travel with my current savings. I have contacted HR and am aware of the company’s policy on salary advances. I am prepared to agree to the usual terms for a 6-month repayment window and a 2% interest rate.

I apologize for the last-minute nature of my request and for the inconvenience I am sure this would cause you. I respectfully ask for your patience and understanding. I am available to meet with you to discuss this request in person anytime today or before 10 a.m. tomorrow morning.

Thank you very much for your time and understanding.
Linda Wood
Marketing Assistant

On Assignment For HuffPost

When someone you love falls ill, gets in an accident or receives a scary health diagnosis, it’s never easy. In fact, it may be the hardest thing you’ll ever have to face. Unfortunately, it’s also inevitable that we’ll all deal with this kind of situation in life.

“You may feel shocked, scared, concerned or uncertain on behalf of your loved one,” said Anne Moyer, an associate professor of psychology at Stony Brook University.

Whatever you’re feeling is okay. Any sort of health crisis signals a huge change in your life, and it’s frightening, said Melodie Winawer, a neurologist and neuroscientist at Columbia University.

“The way you think things would have been, or should be, is suddenly de-railed,” she said. “This sudden transformation is so difficult to process, on both sides.”

While there may not be a set formula for how to deal, there are some key points to keep in mind when providing support to a loved one. We spoke with people on both sides of the diagnosis ― doctors, psychologists and people who have been through their own health scares ― for their best advice on how you can help make a difficult time a little easier. Check out the dos and don’ts below:

Do: Say something.

“No matter what, it is better to say something than nothing,” said Ron Blake, a sexual assault survivor who has experienced post-traumatic stress disorder. “Heck, even tell the person you aren’t sure what to say, but you just want to say something and let them know you are there for them. Silence is crushing.”

It’s okay if you’re not sure what to say, but do acknowledge the situation. Try authentic and empathetic statements, like “I’m not sure what to do to help, but I care about you,” or “I’m feeling upset too, but want to do my best to help,” Moyer suggested.

Don’t: Make it about yourself.

It’s human nature to focus on yourself, Winawer said. But try to suppress that natural inclination when speaking to a loved one dealing with a diagnosis. Take yourself out of the equation, and offer the other person the opportunity to explain how they feel ― without being imposing.

Say something like: “It’s hard for me to even imagine how you’re feeling. Do you want to tell me about it?” or “I’ve never been in your position, but I’d love to try to understand what it’s like,” Winawer suggested.

Do: Take the “ask” off their plate.

It might be natural to offer to help by saying, “Let me know if you need anything at all.” However, that can put a person dealing with an illness in an awkward position of having to think of a way for you to assist them, said Nick Arquette, founder and CEO of Walk With Sally, a nonprofit that provides services to families impacted by cancer.

“When a friend or loved one is facing a serious health scare, one of the best ways to be truly supportive is to eliminate the burden of ‘making the ask,’” he said.

In other words, pitch in by taking an everyday task off their to-do list, like doing the laundry, making sure the bills are paid and mailed off or having dinner ready for the family. Or simply offer to go for a walk in the fresh air, so that he or she can open up and vent if need be.

Christina Pandapas, who was diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer at age 46, agreed that simple gestures often go a long way.

“Meals for the family are tremendously helpful, so is offering to take their kids to events, school, or have them over for sleepovers,” she said. “Anything you can do to provide some fun and normalcy will ease stress for the whole family.”

Also, you can navigate around the “ask” by asking the person’s spouse how you may be able to help. “Not everyone is comfortable reaching out when they could use some help,” Pandapas said. “My husband was very adept at helping my friends navigate my ego.”

Don’t: Pretend to be a medical expert.

Even if you are a doctor, or have dealt with a similar condition, keep in mind that everyone’s experience is different.

“Most people dealing with a serious illness have a medical team,” Pandapas said. “They probably don’t need armchair treatment recommendations based on your second cousin’s brother’s experience.”

Nor do they want your overly optimistic, if well-intentioned, prognosis, stressed Rachel Soper Sanders, who suffers from chronic pain after a serious car accident. “Don’t tell the person it will be okay ― because in reality no one really knows if it will or not,” Sanders said.

Also, don’t assume they’re doing fine just because they look fine, she added. Many health conditions are invisible on the outside, so commenting on someone’s appearance can feel dismissive or hurtful.

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On Assignment For HuffPost

When someone you love falls ill, gets in an accident or receives a scary health diagnosis, it’s never easy. In fact, it may be the hardest thing you’ll ever have to face. Unfortunately, it’s also inevitable that we’ll all deal with this kind of situation in life.

“You may feel shocked, scared, concerned or uncertain on behalf of your loved one,” said Anne Moyer, an associate professor of psychology at Stony Brook University.

Whatever you’re feeling is okay. Any sort of health crisis signals a huge change in your life, and it’s frightening, said Melodie Winawer, a neurologist and neuroscientist at Columbia University.

“The way you think things would have been, or should be, is suddenly de-railed,” she said. “This sudden transformation is so difficult to process, on both sides.”

While there may not be a set formula for how to deal, there are some key points to keep in mind when providing support to a loved one. We spoke with people on both sides of the diagnosis ― doctors, psychologists and people who have been through their own health scares ― for their best advice on how you can help make a difficult time a little easier. Check out the dos and don’ts below:

Do: Say something.

“No matter what, it is better to say something than nothing,” said Ron Blake, a sexual assault survivor who has experienced post-traumatic stress disorder. “Heck, even tell the person you aren’t sure what to say, but you just want to say something and let them know you are there for them. Silence is crushing.”

It’s okay if you’re not sure what to say, but do acknowledge the situation. Try authentic and empathetic statements, like “I’m not sure what to do to help, but I care about you,” or “I’m feeling upset too, but want to do my best to help,” Moyer suggested.

Don’t: Make it about yourself.

It’s human nature to focus on yourself, Winawer said. But try to suppress that natural inclination when speaking to a loved one dealing with a diagnosis. Take yourself out of the equation, and offer the other person the opportunity to explain how they feel ― without being imposing.

Say something like: “It’s hard for me to even imagine how you’re feeling. Do you want to tell me about it?” or “I’ve never been in your position, but I’d love to try to understand what it’s like,” Winawer suggested.

Do: Take the “ask” off their plate.

It might be natural to offer to help by saying, “Let me know if you need anything at all.” However, that can put a person dealing with an illness in an awkward position of having to think of a way for you to assist them, said Nick Arquette, founder and CEO of Walk With Sally, a nonprofit that provides services to families impacted by cancer.

“When a friend or loved one is facing a serious health scare, one of the best ways to be truly supportive is to eliminate the burden of ‘making the ask,’” he said.

In other words, pitch in by taking an everyday task off their to-do list, like doing the laundry, making sure the bills are paid and mailed off or having dinner ready for the family. Or simply offer to go for a walk in the fresh air, so that he or she can open up and vent if need be.

Christina Pandapas, who was diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer at age 46, agreed that simple gestures often go a long way.

“Meals for the family are tremendously helpful, so is offering to take their kids to events, school, or have them over for sleepovers,” she said. “Anything you can do to provide some fun and normalcy will ease stress for the whole family.”

Also, you can navigate around the “ask” by asking the person’s spouse how you may be able to help. “Not everyone is comfortable reaching out when they could use some help,” Pandapas said. “My husband was very adept at helping my friends navigate my ego.”

Don’t: Pretend to be a medical expert.

Even if you are a doctor, or have dealt with a similar condition, keep in mind that everyone’s experience is different.

“Most people dealing with a serious illness have a medical team,” Pandapas said. “They probably don’t need armchair treatment recommendations based on your second cousin’s brother’s experience.”

Nor do they want your overly optimistic, if well-intentioned, prognosis, stressed Rachel Soper Sanders, who suffers from chronic pain after a serious car accident. “Don’t tell the person it will be okay ― because in reality no one really knows if it will or not,” Sanders said.

Also, don’t assume they’re doing fine just because they look fine, she added. Many health conditions are invisible on the outside, so commenting on someone’s appearance can feel dismissive or hurtful.

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It’s a familiar worry: is everyone in my family financially provided for? Is there anything I can do for them?

Data backs up the concern that many families share: An AARP study found over 40% of middle-aged adults expected to give their parents some financial help in 2020. More than half also said they supported their adult children to some extent.

Wealth advisor Sefa Mawuli sees this first-hand. Her clients are high-powered professionals working in tech and other industries; but some of them grew up with much less. In many cases, “they’ve had the benefit of a good education, and now have good high paying jobs. But many of them do not come from wealth themselves,” Mawuli of Citrine Capital in Washington, D.C. says.

Her clients feel like they need to help family members financially — and wonder whether they can afford to do so. “It’s very, very common,” Mawuli says.

Some experts suggest setting up an emergency fund specifically to support your aging parents. Others say covering regular expenses like an electric bill is the simplest way to offer support for a family member in need. No matter how you decide how to do it, your goal should be to get ahead of any emergencies and be proactive instead of reactive.

Here’s how you can plan in advance to provide financial support to your loved ones in a crisis or on a regular basis.

How to tell if you can afford to help family members

A recent study from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) found many Americans rank helping family members financially as a higher priority than saving for their own retirement.

Factors like socioeconomic status and culture also come into play. Nearly half of Hispanic workers and retirees surveyed said it was more important to help family and friends, and those with incomes under $35,000 per year overall were more likely than those making more money to prioritize helping family and friends over retirement savings.

However, experts warn that putting the financial well-being of others ahead of your own can backfire. “A broke person can’t help another broke person,” says Maria Melchor, founder of the Instagram account FirstGenLiving, where she gives personal finance advice. Melchor doesn’t mean that in a harsh way. She’s speaking from her own experience negotiating the best way to support her parents, who she came to the U.S. with from Mexico when she was a child.

There’s a pull between her and her parents’ home country’s culture that really values helping family out, and the very individualistic mindset that’s predominant in the U.S., says Melchor, who also has a business helping clients with budgeting and finances. Most of her clients are first-generation immigrants or people who are the first in their family to graduate from college.

“And so really, this conversation about supporting loved ones has to do with navigating that, with kind of balancing some of your generational expectations with your own pursuit of individual financial stability and control,” she says. That balancing act isn’t easy. “It is a really personal decision to find out how you’re going to be able to support somebody financially,” she adds.

Once you’ve covered your own expenses — including building up your own emergency savings fund of at least three months’ worth of expenses — see how much money you have left over and decide how you can help. There are a lot of ways you can give support, from helping with bills to acting as an informal line of credit. But only use money that you can afford to give away, and avoid taking on debt for another person.

How to start helping a loved one with finances

Melchor uses a spectrum, based on how comfortable you are with talking about money with the person you’re looking to support. One end of the spectrum is what she calls a more “hands-off approach,” where you determine how much money you can afford to give and then set that money aside without talking with your loved ones about it in advance.

“So okay, I looked at my finances, I can actually afford to either give now $200 every month, or to put away $200 every month in our family emergency fund,” Melchor says as an example. “And that is the extent of how much I can offer to help others either now, or if or when they come to me.”

The other end of the spectrum is having a conversation with your mom, dad, son, sibling or other relative where you ask them what they need help with and come up with a plan together. Maybe this results in you consistently paying a bill for them that they were struggling to make. Mawuli actually recommends you meet with a financial advisor — here’s how to find a trustworthy one — for this chat. She says it can help to have an objective third-party present when the inevitable hard feelings show up.

Joy Liu, a trainer at The Financial Gym, says if you’re giving a family member large sums of money, check in every few months to reevaluate the amount. “I’ve talked to [clients] about… building something to where we can reevaluate on every six months or a yearly basis to see, ‘How is this going? Do you still need the support? Is this sufficient support? Can we pull back?’” she says.

As a creative solution, Liu’s clients have set up shared accounts that they allow their loved ones to pull from whenever they need cash to help them meet expenses. “That way, we don’t have to have a weird conversation about it — it’s there,” she says.

“In reality, people are financially interdependent on one another. And that’s not a bad thing,” says Liu. “I think we can all embrace that a little bit more. It can help us to step out of some of this toxic capitalism and individualism that drives a lot of financial scarcity.”

Other ways to help

If you’re not able to help others financially yet, that’s also ok. Working on your own financial well-being is important, too. Securing your own emergency savings and getting on track for retirement will actually help your family in the long run, setting you up to give more if and when you can afford it and helping to break the cycle of scarcity.

There are plenty of other ways to help a family member out even if you can’t afford to give cash yet, Mawuli says. If you have space in your home, you can consider allowing your parents to move in. With the sky-high costs of child care, grandparents could help you save money if they’re willing to babysit for free. “And then you can also in turn help by supporting their ongoing living expenses,” Mawuli says.

Sharing resources and information is also incredibly valuable. Don’t be patronizing toward a family member who lacks financial knowledge. That’s a lesson Melchor has had to learn with her own family.

Telling her parents what they need to do with their money hasn’t felt good. “What feels better is being like, ‘Hey, this is what I’m doing [with my money]. What do you guys think? Would you want to do something like this?’” she says. “Like, ‘I started investing? Do you guys invest? No? Oh, I see. Do you want to learn? I can teach you.’ I think that that’s generally felt much healthier.”

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the name of the firm where Sefa Mawuli works. It is Citrine Capital not Citrine Capital Wealth Advisors.

During a public health emergency, the FDA can use its Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) authority to allow the use of unapproved medical products, or unapproved uses of approved medical products, to diagnose, treat, or prevent serious or life-threatening diseases when certain criteria are met, including that there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives.

Before the FDA can issue an EUA, the Secretary of Health and Human Services must make a declaration of emergency or threat justifying authorization of emergency use for a product. This chart summarizes the process for EUA issuance.

This page provides answers to frequently asked questions about EUAs and medical devices during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Q: How do I know if the FDA has issued an EUA for a medical device?

A: For medical device EUAs, go to Emergency Use Authorizations for Medical Devices. This page lists current EUAs issued for medical devices during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as EUAs issued during previous public health emergencies.

For all EUAs issued by the FDA, refer to Emergency Use Authorization.

Q: Are 510(k) submissions for devices covered by an EUA also expedited?

A: The FDA is committed to providing timely access to critical devices to address the COVID-19 pandemic. CDRH will strive to meet deadlines established under the FDA’s user-fee program for products submitted under 510(k). For products intended to address important public health issues related to COVID-19, CDRH will conduct its review as quickly as possible.

Q: If an authorized device needs to be imported, do the importers need to register and list?

A: Importers must register and list if required by the device’s EUA letter of authorization. Please review the following for additional information:

  • Registration and Listing of Medical Devices during the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Importing Medical Devices During the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Importing COVID-19 Supplies
  • Device Registration and Listing

Q: What happens to authorized devices after the public health emergency is over?

A: The FDA may revise or revoke EUAs during a declared emergency for certain reasons, including if revising or revoking the EUA is appropriate to protect the public health or safety. More information on the duration of an EUA can be found in the FDA’s guidance, Emergency Use Authorization of Medical Products and Related Authorities, and in sections 564(f) and 564(g)(2) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). Sponsors of EUA products are encouraged to follow up the EUA issuance with a premarket submission so that their products can remain on the market once the EUA is no longer in effect.

Q: Will devices authorized under an EUA during this public health emergency need to go off the market? Will they need a 510(k)?

A: When an EUA for a device is no longer in effect, the device may no longer be legally marketed unless it has received marketing authorization from the FDA. Manufacturers are encouraged to pursue premarket submissions through the appropriate regulatory pathway (for example, 510(k), De Novo request, PMA) during the public health emergency so that devices authorized under an EUA can remain on the market after the EUA is no longer in effect.

Q: Can I modify my authorized device under the device’s existing EUA?

A: Some changes may be permitted with the FDA’s concurrence under the issued EUA, while other changes may require a new EUA. Therefore, before making a change to the product authorized under an EUA, a firm should contact the appropriate review team who reviewed the original EUA request to discuss your proposed change. In general, the Conditions of Authorization (usually Section IV) in your letter of authorization will provide information about what can be amended in your EUA with concurrence of the FDA.

Q: How do I get my medical device added to an EUA if an umbrella EUA for my device type has been issued?

A: The letter of authorization for the device type EUA will provide information about how an authorized product is added to a list. Keep in mind that some of these device type EUAs do not have lists maintained by the FDA. If your device does not meet the criteria to be authorized under an umbrella EUA, you may request an individual EUA. The FDA’s guidance, Emergency Use Authorization of Medical Products and Related Authorities – Guidance for Industry and Other Stakeholders includes recommendations for what to include in an EUA request.

Q: I am a manufacturer of a product that is not the subject of an EUA. How do I submit a request for a new EUA? Do I need an EUA?

A: The FDA’s guidance, Emergency Use Authorization of Medical Products and Related Authorities – Guidance for Industry and Other Stakeholders contains information about how to determine if your product may be eligible for an EUA per the statutory criteria under Section B. EUA Medical Products, 1. Criteria for Issuance. As explained in the guidance, if you think your product may meet the criteria for issuance, you should assemble the information in Section D. Request for an EUA, 2. Information Recommendations. Not all types of products will meet the statutory criteria for an EUA. If your product does not meet the statutory criteria for an EUA, you may still submit a premarket submission under the appropriate regulatory pathway (for example, 510(k), De Novo request, PMA) to legally market your product. You may also submit an application for an investigational device exemption (IDE) to study the use of your device during the emergency. More information on How the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health is Prioritizing its Workload and Looking Ahead is also available.

Your product type may also be the subject of a recent guidance document. If an EUA has not been issued, but your product type is the subject of a recent guidance document, please refer to the information and recommendations in the guidance.

Q: What are the criteria for products to be considered for an EUA?

A: The FDA may issue an EUA if the criteria for issuance under section 564(c) of the FD&C Act are met. These criteria are explained and listed under Section B. EUA Medical Products, 1. Criteria for Issuance of the Emergency Use Authorization of Medical Products and Related Authorities – Guidance for Industry and Other Stakeholders.

Q: My product is the subject of an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE). Can I market my device while under an IDE if I feel that it would benefit patients during this public health emergency?

A: An IDE allows the investigational device to be used in a clinical study in order to collect safety and effectiveness data. It does not permit the marketing of the product. For more details, see Investigational Device Exemption (IDE).

Of course, the best and easiest ways to help others during the coronavirus pandemic is to wash your hands, social distance if you must go out, self-quarantine if you are sick or think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and cancel any group gatherings, especially of more than 10 people.

For most of us, self-isolating is new, but all this distance from one another doesn’t make us helpless in this collective fight. There are still things we can do for one another. Whether you have time, money, a car or even a phone, there are big and small ways you can help others.

Help your community:

1. Only buy what you need, so everyone in your community can get what they need.

2. Give to your local food bank. They all need help and contributions, especially those in communities hardest hit by COVID-19.

3. Give blood. According to the American Red Cross, there is an urgent need for blood due to the coronavirus outbreak. Find a blood drive near you.

4. Consider fostering or adopting a pet in need, as typical shelter volunteers aren’t able to make it in to help at this time — and they’re always in need of food and cleaning supplies, too.

5. Start a community garden in the neighborhood and set up a schedule to stagger work times for distanced gardening. It’ll help soothe the stir crazy and can teach an important skill and provide food.

6. Share with your community if you find yourself with an abundance of food or provisions. One family canceled their son’s Bar Mitzvah but decided to keep their contract with a tiny Hmong-owned business and delivered the food to friends in quarantine and sent the rest home with others. And there was this guy who set up a toilet paper exchange on a street corner, so those with extra could drop off and those in need could pick up.

An unlikely hero: Surfer sets up toilet paper exchange on Encinitas street corner https://t.co/2W3a3y7ymv

7. Call your elected officials and ask them to act on sweeping policies to help families, small businesses and vulnerable populations.

Help seniors and others in need:

8. Check on seniors, disabled or other at-risk neighbors in your area. Since there should be no contact right now, print out one of these #ViralKindness Postcards and leave it on their door or doorstep. Then they’ll know how to reach out!

9. Start a neighborhood signup to help those in need, using Facebook or Nextdoor. Think errands, chores, errands, trash cans, yard work. The state of Michigan even set up a central registry for this purpose.

10. Donate to Meals on Wheels America, which works to keep older Americans across the country safe and nourished.

11. Check in on anyone you know who might have depression or anxiety, both of which can be exacerbated during a crisis like this.

12. Schedule regular chats or even book or poetry readings by phone with homebound individuals.

13. Ask kids to call grandparents and other senior family members every couple of days. If they’re set up to do video chat, even better.

14. Have the kids draw pictures and write letters to local seniors in nursing homes who can’t have visitors at this time.

15. Call a friend or relative who’s far away and lives alone. The mental toll of self isolation can be immense for some people. Reach out to them, let them hear your voice, listen to them and make sure they are in a good mental place.

16. Don’t have a nearby neighbor in need? Ask your place of worship if there are any ways to help their aging attendees.

Help families:

17. Shop or do errands for quarantined (even self-quarantined) families who need to stay home or don’t want to take their kids out in public areas.

18. If you’re a senior stuck at home or parent who’s home with your kids, consider doing a virtual story hour, using a free app like FaceTime or WhatsApp. One adult can keep several kids entertained at a time.

19. Donate the refund from that weekend getaway you had to cancel to help someone else’s college student travel home.

20. If your employer allows you to gift your sick time, donate some to a coworker who needs to be off to care for themselves or family.

Help domestic workers:

21. If you have a nanny or regular babysitter, release them from work and pay them, especially if you are able to work from home and/or are still getting normal paychecks.

22. Take the next step on the above and add paid leave benefits for any domestic worker you employ.

23. Donate to the Coronavirus Care Fund, which provides immediate financial support for in-home care workers, nannies and house cleaners during the crisis.

Help the health care community:

24. Don’t use the medical system unless it is urgent.

25. One doctor even suggests chilling out on activities that commonly land folks in the ER.

There is going to be a lot of pressure on Critical Care. Here’s how you can help:

1. 15% admissions alcohol related. Moderate intake. If you can’t, stay away from top of stairs.

2. Drive considerately, to speed limits. It’s never really that urgent.

3. Avoid ladders#COVID19

26. If you know people in the health care industry — nurses, doctors, admins, CNAs, paramedics or others — do something for them or their families: Run errands, grocery shop, place online orders for things they need.

27. Donate to the WHO Solidarity Fund, powered by the UN Foundation and Swiss Philanthropy Foundation. Donations support the World Health Organization’s work to track and understand the spread of the coronavirus; to ensure patients get the care they need and frontline workers get essential supplies and information; and to accelerate efforts to develop vaccines, tests, and treatments. (And Facebook is matching the first US $10 million donated).

Help workers:

28. If you pay for routine services, such as a house cleaner, hair stylist or personal trainer, cancel any upcoming appointments but pay them their normal rate if you can.

29. Be kind to staff working in grocery stores. They’re working hard, waiting for food delivery trucks and stocking the shelves as quickly as possible. Plus, they also have families and personal stresses of their own. A smile, some patience and a thank you can go a long way.

30. If you order food delivery, be kind to your delivery people. They’re under a lot of pressure right now too. For social distancing purposes, ask to have the order left on your doorstep or in the lobby or use the new “no contact” option offered on many food delivery apps. Tip well — as if you were dining in or $5 at minimum — and tip digitally so cash doesn’t have to be exchanged. If there are mistakes or delays, please forgive.

Help small businesses:

31. Shop locally wherever you can.

32. Buy gift certificates now for your favorite local restaurants and use them later.

33. For local cafes, book shops and other small businesses with online shops, give them your business online.

34. Have dinner delivered from a great local restaurant or ship a pound (or three!) of local coffee to the health care professionals, seniors or quarantined families on your block.