How to Support Someone with a Chronic Illness
Whether you yourself have been diagnosed with an illness or know someone who has, it’s important to know how to support someone with a chronic illness. The first step is knowing what to say, and what not to say to someone with chronic pain or illness. It’s often difficult to know what someone who is struggling with a chronic illness needs or wants, here we’re going to outline a few ways how to help someone with chronic illness.
How to Support Someone With A Chronic Illness
It’s a terrible situation to be in when someone close to you is suffering and not know how to help them. We often default to letting the person know that they can contact us if they need anything, but this may not be the best option. Sometimes people are in too much pain mentally or physically to make a decision about what they may need help with.
Offering specific types of help is the best way how to support someone with a chronic illness. Here is a list of ways that you can specify what you will do to help:
- Offer to bring lunch or dinner over
- Offer to take their dog for a walk
- Offer to pick up pet food, or litter before stopping by
- Offer to watch their children or take them to the park
- Offer to take them out for a drive
- Offer to come by and clean the bathrooms or do laundry
- Offer to run to the grocery for them
Being specific is key because often people don’t want to put a burden on someone else but when given a specific task or way to help, it can be received well. If by chance you offer to help in specific ways and aren’t getting a response, give the person some time, but try again. It all depends on how comfortable you are with the person and what your relationship is like. If you are very close with the person, just decide on a task and stop by one day and do it. It can be difficult for people to accept help but when something is done for them without having asked, it can feel good on both ends.
What Not to Say To Someone With Chronic Pain
It seems like whenever someone is diagnosed with a chronic illness or has chronic pain, everyone has an opinion about it. It’s best that these sort of opinions or comments are left unsaid, unless you are a doctor and are familiar with the medical history of the individual.
If you are not a doctor, no matter the research you do, you have to remember that the individual is probably feeling a lot of pressure and pain and hearing your opinion or remedies will not make it any easier for them. That doesn’t mean that you can’t do your own research out of curiosity, but you don’t have to share everything you learn with the person. Instead try positive reinforcement and love.
Remind the individual about how special they are to you and what they mean to you. Tell them that you love them and that you are here for them. Sometimes the best medicine for someone who is feeling pain is hearing that they are cared for and loved. Once you have helped out and told the person how much they mean to you the best thing you can do is listen, listen to the person and give them your time. They probably have a lot they want to share, especially over time.
Being supportive through actions, expressions and listening can be a great way how to help someone with a chronic illness.