Being diagnosed with a chronic illness is difficult for the person and their friends and family. Your first reaction may be to help them, though you may not know how to do this. Not to mention, many of the initial ways to help – bringing over meals, setting up doctor’s appointments – aren’t enough to take away the pain and discomfort the person may be feeling.
You may not be able to stop the illness or fix the pain, but realize that continuing to be a dependable friend or family member goes a long way. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways that you can support a loved one that has been diagnosed with a chronic illness.
Be on the lookout for changes in your loved one’s condition – both physically and emotionally. It’s difficult to anticipate exactly what your loved one will need, but being aware and alert will help you plan accordingly.
Build a Support Network
Create a supportive circle of friends and family. This support can come in many ways: paying bills online, mowing the yard in the summer, driving the person to appointments, etc. Every little bit counts, and it’s refreshing to see how many people are willing to help when given the chance to do so.
Create a Safe Home
Look at your loved one’s home objectively. What changes need to be made to ensure their safety? What can be done to make their daily tasks easier? Organizing cabinets, installing handle bars in the shower or purchasing an electronic medicine dispenser are a few examples.
Enlist Assistance When Needed
As your loved one’s condition progresses, you may need more assistance from outside sources. It’s a good idea to have the name and number of a respite service available for when you need it. You still deserve to go on vacation in the summer, spend time with family and tend to your own health and well being.
Accepting a loved one’s illness can be just as hard for you as it is for them. Continue being the loving, supportive friend that you are and prepare for change. Don’t forget that you are not alone. Support networks, respite services and caregivers are available to assist you on this journey.