Written by Jason Lewis
Chronic illness is more common than you may think; according to research, up to 45% of Americans have one, and a smaller percentage have several conditions. When a family member or friend gets diagnosed, it can feel like the world is crumbling, but individuals with chronic diseases can live full, happy lives. You can help by offering your support in the following ways.
Learn as Much as You Can
If you want to help a loved one living with a chronic illness, the first step is learning more. The best way to research is by consulting with a medical professional, but you can supplement your knowledge with reputable online sources:
- Cleveland Clinic
- National Institutes of Health
- Mayo Clinic
What if you feel called to take a more hands-on approach? A nursing degree can equip family members with the necessary skills to become full-time caregivers. Online universities offer flexibility and affordable tuition, making them an excellent option for working adults. Before registering, ensure the school is accredited to avoid getting scammed.
Help Your Loved One Adhere to a Management Plan
Management plans can minimize symptoms through lifestyle changes, medication, and medical treatment:
- Pain management
Depending on the condition and patients’ ages, they may need assistance sticking with a plan created by their doctors. You can help by organizing their medication, scheduling exercise classes, and taking them to social gatherings.
Create an Accessible Home Office
Working from home offers flexibility and comfort for people with chronic conditions. Home office design significantly impacts productivity, especially when individuals have health issues, so look for ways to create a welcoming, adaptable workspace:
- Choose low-maintenance flooring
- Find a quiet area
- Get a desk that’s comfortable to work at
Additionally, you can help your loved one increase natural lighting, which can boost energy and mood. Buying an ergonomic chair is also essential, as it can drastically reduce physical discomfort over long hours at the computer.
Ask What Your Loved One Needs
You should have an open dialogue with loved ones about their needs, including their emotional states. These discussions aren’t easy, and you may need a professional to help you navigate them. It may take time for individuals to adjust to their new limitations, so be patient and ask what you can do to assist in the meantime. Above all, don’t assume you know what your loved one needs. People with chronic illnesses still have agency and deserve respect.
Helping Around the House
Sometimes chronic illnesses cause pain, stiffness, and fatigue, making it difficult for patients to accomplish tasks they efficiently completed before. You can help your loved one stay comfortable by completing household chores:
- Doing dishes
Read About Others’ Journeys
Dealing with a loved one’s illness can be overwhelming, and sometimes family and friends feel at a loss. Reading about other people’s experiences may help if you’re in this position. For example, you can find blogs about caregivers’ journeys or read books about patients’ struggles.
Get Outside Help
Even with an extensive support system, families of people with chronic illnesses can’t do everything. The good news is that there are many resources to help:
- Support groups
- Religious organizations
- Transportation services
- Nonprofit organizations
Getting diagnosed with a chronic illness is a huge life change, but the support of loved ones can ease the transition. With the right approach, you can help your family member or friend get high-quality care and enjoy life.
Image via Pexels
I love collaborating with Jason and I’m looking forward to future articles:)