Supporting a chronically ill family member isn’t taxing because there’s a lot to do. Although yes, it does take significant effort. But where many people struggle is with knowing what to do.
If a family member of yours is suffering from a chronic illness, I’m glad to let you know I can share how to give appropriate and effective support. As a board-certified internal physician and chronic illness coach, part of what I do is helping individuals like your loved one.
With these three ways, you can be a truly helpful presence as they manage their illness.
You’ve experienced ableism before. Can you remember a time when someone felt you were at some kind of disadvantage, but their efforts to help only came off as condescending?
Despite our best intentions, we can easily inspire the same feeling in ill family members.
The right way to proceed, then, is to bear in mind that your relative is still capable of a degree of independence. Recognize this and make it clear in how you offer them assistance.
And you should also remember that each chronic illness is different, and, indeed, each patient’s experience.
Continue to educate yourself on the specific illness. This will help you understand the forms of help that are meaningful and those that risk appearing patronizing.
Communication is also essential here, since a deeper understanding allows you to see how to give effective support.
People with chronic illnesses may worry that they’re burdening those around them. So, to encourage your loved one to share, stress to them that you’re freely available to help.
If you find yourself still struggling to strike the right balance, the services of a chronic illness coach will certainly be helpful to you.
When a family member falls chronically ill, it’s only human to fixate on their illness and consider little else. But you should remember that, like anyone else, they still have a complex life and things they’d like to work toward.
Keeping the first piece of advice in mind, make sure not to overstep with how you provide assistance for broader life goals.
The goals mentioned here can involve anything from excelling in academics to losing weight or picking up a new skill.
The main reason why you should do this is that a sense of achievement leads to a better emotional state for patients. Potentially, this can make it possible to manage their condition better.
Someone suffering from a chronic illness may struggle with their condition much more if they feel that they are under-informed.
As a family member, you can take part in helping your loved one gain a better understanding of their condition.
For many patients and family members in a similar situation, a chronic illness coach is the surest solution. Part of their work is bridging the gap in understanding between medical specialists and patients.
The more a patient knows about their condition and their treatment, the more empowered they feel.
While this is a difficult time for everyone involved, focus on the fact that the top priorities are effective management of the condition and maximizing both comfort and a positive mental state.
Step by Step Wellness & Weight Loss can provide a chronic illness coach who assists your family member in the ways that matter most, along with helping you do the same.
Schedule a free consultation to hear more about how we can strengthen your loved one’s support network together.