Here’s the scenario: You live alone, far from your nearest relative, and one day you’re diagnosed with cancer. What do you do?

Today, a growing number of people are turning to something called “care circles.” That’s a group of friends - or even strangers - who come to your home to provide care and support during recovery. The support can include everything from cooking and cleaning, to driving you to the hospital, or just hanging out to talk.

Experts say care circles are increasingly in demand these days, because one-in-four North Americans live alone. That means there are millions of people out there wondering: “What will happen to me if I become seriously ill?” After all, your coworkers and friends don’t have any obligation to help you in the way a spouse might, for example. Plus, many doctors admit they’re reluctant to discharge single patients from the hospital, until they know there’s a support system waiting at home. And experts say this trend will only get worse as families grow smaller, and people live longer.

So, how can you organize a successful care circle?

The good news is that you don’t need to be a social butterfly with tons of best friends. In fact, a lot of people start with a book called _Share The Care_, by Sheila Warnock. It’s based on Warnock’s own experience organizing care circles.

We also recommend checking out the Website, That’s a free community of more than half a million members, that was created with one question in mind: “What can I do to help?”