How to help a family member suffering from a chronic illness

Being diagnosed with a chronic illness is not only life-changing for the person affected, but it also greatly affects the life of those related to that person. You may be reading this and had a loved one recently diagnosed with a chronic illness. As difficult and as overwhelming as your situation is, this article aims to offer some words of advice to try to ease some of the struggles you’re facing. During this article, we will go through some different tips and techniques for how to help a family member suffering from a chronic illness.

Be there for them emotionally

Chronic illnesses can be extremely draining, both physically and mentally. It’s important to be there for your loved one, both as a shoulder to cry on and as a sounding board. Just letting them know that you’re there for them can make a big difference. If you’re unsure of the right thing to do or say, or what it means to have ‘toxic positivity,’ then it’s wise to do some research online with regards to how to best support your loved one suffering a chronic illness . The internet has a wide range of resources to show you how you can be there for them emotionally. Including what not to do.

Offer financial support

If your family member is unable to work because of their chronic illness, offer to help with expenses. This can take a load off of their shoulders and allow them to focus on getting better. Similarly, if you can’t help with the funds yourself, you can help with finding a means to get the funds. This could be to do with organising a fundraiser. If you like the idea of organising a fundraiser, then have a browse online at different fundraising ideas. The internet has a wide range of resources and ideas for different fundraising activities you could do. If you’re an adrenalin junkie, you could go as crazy as you’d like with the hope of it raising more cash.

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Help with their treatment plan

If your family member is dealing with a chronic illness, chances are they have a lot of appointments and treatments to keep track of. Offer to help them stay organized and on track. Similarly, if your family member has an extensive medication routine, you can help with making them adhere to taking their pills regularly when they’re supposed to. If your family member hasn’t already had a look at what they’re eligible to take for their condition, you can double-check with their doctor and get their medication for them. For any chronic condition, there’s a variety of pharmaceutical products available to help ease the pain. Speak to their doctor, look online, and most importantly, discuss with your family member their options and see what they feel comfortable taking with regards to their pharmaceutical treatment plan.

Keep in touch and check in often

A chronic illness can be very isolating, so it’s important to keep in touch with your loved ones and check in on them often. This will let them know that they are not alone and that you care about them. You can do this by ringing, texting, or just popping around. Sometimes, it’s the consistency in showing that you’re there for them whenever they need it that will help pull them back up.

Be understanding

Chronic illness can be unpredictable. There will be good days and bad days. Try to be understanding and patient when things don’t go as planned. Different things you can say to offer emotional support to someone going through a hard time include; ‘how can I help you?’ ‘what can I do for you?’ ‘is there anything you want to talk about?’ ‘I’m here for you,’ and ‘I love you.’

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Encourage self-care

It’s important for your loved ones to take care of themselves, both physically and mentally. Encourage them to eat well, exercise, and get enough rest. And remind them to take breaks when they need them. If you see they haven’t showered, got up from bed in a while, or washed their clothes, tell them. Although these conversations may be difficult to have at first, your loved ones will thank you in the future for helping them keep their dignity during their illness.

Seek out support

Chronic illness can be hard on both the sufferer and their loved ones. Seek out support from other family members, friends, or a support group. This can help you all deal with the challenges of the illness. If you look online, there’s a wide range of charities and support systems that help not only those suffering from a chronic condition but also the carers and family members involved.

We’re with you the whole way

Although sadly, there isn’t anything anyone can do to make the situation better for you as a family, we can only offer advice and some guidance to help appease the difficult situation you’re going through. The burden of the chronic illness isn’t just on the shoulders of your loved one, but also on your shoulders. Remember to reach out for help if you need it. You’re all going through a really hard time, it’s important to talk.

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