5 Ways to Support a Loved One with a Chronic Illness

dis-7If you are a parent, you might have had an experience where you watch your child in pain. If you are a child, you know what life is like to see you mom, dad, brother or sister in pain. It is a difficult experience that can make you emotional. No matter how much we dislike a person, there’s still a human part of us that doesn’t want them to experience any pain. Pains can be quite excruciating.

The emotions you feel watching a loved one in pain is nothing compared to the way they feel. Chronic illnesses are sicknesses that don’t go away. They are always there. The illness might get better with time but not completely. The people who are chronically ill go through a lot of physical changes. They can put on weight extremely, or they can lose weight drastically. They go through a lot of emotional challenges too. There’s always a lot of emotions running through their system. Anger, pain, sadness or depression lurks around the corner for them.

If you are looking for how to support a friend or family member that just got a chronic illness diagnosis, or that already has the ailment, you are on the right page. By reading this and being here, you are already showing you care about their physical, mental, emotional and psychological health. Here are some ways you can support a loved one in their trying times:  

Show Love: You can tell your family or friend you love them all the time. Show them love always, not often. Love is not what you say. It is what you do. Actions always speak louder than words. So, if you say you love them but refuse to check up on them, it’s half the effort. If you refuse to help them get around, you’re only doing about half of the work. Sitting with your loved one can be extremely beneficial to them. It helps them feel more normal, even if it is only for that period. Above all, you should not act like the disease or illness is going to make you lose them soon. Don’t be in tears or close to tears when you’re together. It will make them lose their determination to fight the disease and live a normal healthy life. Don’t forget that love makes the world go round. It can calm a storm and bring peace. Love is the most powerful medicine. So, try to show love today!

Accept What You Cannot Change: Do you wish to live in a world without illnesses? Or do you wish to live in a world without pain? Of course, we do. But this is not possible, not even our so-called advanced technology can guarantee us this. The quicker we face that reality, the better. When dealing with your loved one with a chronic illness, accept the fact that they’re ill. Accept the fact that you cannot make them better medically. Don’t live in denial. However, if you carry out your research on the Internet or in a library on the illness, it will go a long way. You will know why they are behaving in a particular way. You will understand the changes when it happens. You might even have intellectual conversations about the illness or disease when they are ready to talk. You will also make them understand you care. That is enough support already.

Hang Out with Them: The truth is we all love to go out with our friends. Even if it’s just to that lovely coffee shop down the road or the bar, we love it. It’s not the coffee we sip that makes us love hanging out. It’s the company. It is the fact that we can have a good laugh and just be happy for that period. To support your friend with a chronic condition, don’t stop going out with them. If you had fixed days for going out before the illness, don’t cancel them except if it is totally unavoidable. Going out and doing things helps bring back normalcy. It helps them know that nothing has changed and the illness is manageable.

Say the Right Things: Some people just know the right thing to say in any situation. Their words of encouragement can lift you and make you forget your worries. Knowing what to say to a person with the chronic illness is showing them support. It can lift the sadness they were experiencing before. It can bring them out of a depressed mood. Please don’t say things like ‘the disease is in your mind.’ It suggests to the ill person they are not thinking positively. The aim is to make them feel better and not to make them feel worse about their condition. Words like “I’m here for you,” “I understand,” “you are strong,” “we’re in this together” will tell the person with the condition that you understand their situation. That is a way of showing your support. All in all, try to empathize with them.

Help Out: At the beginning of a chronic illness, the person will feel sad and depressed. It is your time to show care by helping out. Offer to pick their kids from and to school. Offer to make them their favorite food. Offer to pick groceries from them. Actions like this tell them nothing is going to change despite what they have. It also helps them think deeply about the situation and plan strategic ways to rise above it.

Bottom Line

It might be a bit difficult for you to do all these things highlighted in this article. You will witness situations that will change how you view your loved one. The most important thing is that you should them. Because of that love you have, you will make sure they survive with all the energy in them. If you show them a reason to keep fighting, they will fight. If you show them a reason to live their lives despite the chronic illness, they will. People with chronic illnesses can live a very successful life. Your loved one does not have to be an exception. Support them with all you have. And they will cherish it!

Photo Credit: Helpguide