My friend Lois, who's mother was recovering from surgery, said a friend came over and changed her mother's sheets so she had fresh linens to sleep in. I thought I'd post a list of things that I've seen be simple graces that can have a lot of meaning for a person dealing with illness.
--fill the gas tank
--clean the fridge
--take out the trash
--bring over supper AND a sandwich for lunch
--write a card but keep it simple--even reading a long note can take too much effort
--bring over beverages. Medications can do a number on your taste buds. I like to head over to our neighborhood bodega and select a variety of Mexican sodas to bring. Sometimes you get weary of the 7-up and ginger ale and find the tamarind or pineapple soda is just right.
--shovel the snow/rake the leaves/mow the lawn
--offer to make some insurance company calls
--if you are visiting on the phone, offer to read the paper or a book--allows for companionship while limiting the amount of talking the sick person needs to do to keep up his/her end of the conversation.
--take the caregiver for a walk
AND, our family has benefited in our bereavement time from these supports:
--two extended family members brought campers and parked them on my parents' driveway to give us extra bedrooms and space.
--on our block here in Chicago it is a tradition for the neighbors to help the family prepare for the funeral; they come and take shirts and suits to the cleaners, shine shoes, do store runs for clothing items, wash the car. Anne Mette took Paul shopping for a suit and arrange tailoring. Sharon Johnson made sure Andy and Seth were ready with their clothes.
Please add more ideas in comments.