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How to Support a Loved One with Chronic Illness

 

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In order to support friends or family members with chronic illness, you need to make an effort to understand their situation. It’s also important to be responsive yet realistic about the support you can provide. Communication is key and ensure your friend or family member knows you are there for them, but in the way they prefer. It’s also vital not to try and go it alone. If you’re a caregiver for a family member or loved one with chronic illness, you could look into extra support such as home care services. Here are a few ways you can provide support to your friend or family member yourself.


Listen and support

Listening isn’t the only thing important for improving communication, you also need to pay attention and tailor your assistance to their needs. It’s important to validate their feelings and views, and recognize when it’s your turn to be responsive or take a step back. Try and find a balance. Good communication is key to any relationship.


Do the research

One of the best ways to support a friend or family member with chronic illness is to do research into the issue. This can involve the law, medical research, and other solutions such as Consumer-Directed Services. These services provide support to those who need additional help at home, or with daily tasks. Researching these sorts of solutions can be useful. Although it is impossible to understand your loved one’s position, you will have deeper knowledge about it.


Attend appointments

If your friend or family wishes, you could attend appointments and health tests with them. This will also improve your understanding of the challenges they go through. If necessary, you can also speak to doctors and other staff on behalf of your friend or relative. Don’t speak for them if it’s not needed, however, it depends on the type of support they have requested from you. 


Be responsive

It’s always important to be responsive to their needs. Ensure you are quick to offer help when asked and be gracious about it. Don’t let their chronic illness get in the way of your relationship and include them in social events and activities. Remember to be inclusive when planning social get togethers, however, and try to tailor any activities so that everyone involved can take part.


Be realistic

Whereas you need to prove you’re available, it’s also essential to be realistic about providing support. Don’t overestimate the time you’ve got to dedicate to them or you could risk letting them down. Depending on the illness, your friend or family member might not necessarily need your help, it’s more about maintaining your relationship. Schedule time together and make the effort to check in. 


It’s also necessary to practice self-care if you're providing support to a loved one with chronic illness. Don’t be afraid to seek the help and advice you need from others as well. Coping with chronic illness can be a challenge, but it’s a little easier if you’re not doing it alone.


*contributed post*

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