Chronic illnesses can be mentally and emotionally draining, not just for the person affected but the family members too. The family members are more often than not the caregivers and spokespeople of the chronically ill. Here’s how you can support family members with chronic illnesses.
Accompany them to doctors’ appointments
Most chronic illnesses will require frequent check-ups and treatment. It may be lonely to always go to the hospital alone, especially if the treatment is physically intrusive and includes shots, surgeries or other painful processes. Accompany them there, stay with them and show them that they are not alone. They may not say it, but your presence is invaluable.
Support them emotionally
Encourage them when the symptoms have flared up again and they are scared of what might come next. People that have illnesses that last for years may give up hope of ever being healed. The pain may mess up their will to live and ability to recognize the small wins. Encourage them because words are powerful and doing so may lift their spirit in one way or another.
Do not panic
If someone has been diagnosed with a chronic illness, as loved ones we tend to show our fear or confusion. However, the best thing you can do is to remain calm and not panic, especially in their presence. Panicking will make them more scared and upset. Be loving, supportive and calm, and we understand this might be easier said than done.
Be there. Through thick and thin, be present. Don’t abandon or leave them alone. If you can’t be there, find someone trustworthy who can be there for them.
Some chronic illnesses affect the daily routine of some people. They may stop doing activities they used to because they are physically or mentally incapable of doing so. Just offer help. It’s difficult for a person to ask for help, especially if they have never asked for help to do basic chores or duties before. They don’t want to feel like a burden. Offer help willingly.
Major life events or occurrences change people in one way or another. Chronic illnesses are no different. As people adjust to their life-long conditions, they may vent and complain about their predicament. They may also throw tantrums or withdraw and be very quiet. Be kind as they are trying to find a way of accepting and living their new life.