Helping Each Other

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Supporting a Loved One After a Chronic Illness Diagnosis

Chronic diseases are the leading causes of death and disability, with six in 10 American adults having a chronic disease, according to the CDC. When you find out a loved one has a chronic health condition, you may not know where to start or how to help. Try these tips to support your loved one, presented by Hometown Health Solutions.

Learn What You Can

Use your concern productively by researching the condition. Refer to reputable medical sites when learning about the condition. If you must become your loved one's caregiver, you may even earn a nursing degree. An online nursing degree program makes it easier to earn the degree while you're working and taking care of your family. Ensure any school you consider is accredited, and compare tuition rates to ensure it's competitive.

Help With Needs

Chronic conditions can make it difficult for your loved one to complete activities, such as grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, and caring for their kids. Handling those tasks or hiring someone to help them can help reduce their stress and meet their basic needs. They may not ask for help, so do the things you know they need help with even if they don't admit it. 

One good example is helping them design a stress-free home office if they work from home. In this case, you can create a storage system for digital and paper records, install ample lighting, and update the technology so it's faster and more efficient. Also look into purchasing ergonomic furniture, as they’ll need a comfortable chair and user-friendly keyboard and mouse more than ever now. To further reduce stress in the home office, set up an efficient and easy-to-use planning and scheduling system, whether it’s software or old-school paper planners and wall calendars. Let them make the choice.

Support Medical Care

Your loved one may also need help with medical appointments and care. AmeriCare suggests offering to help them schedule appointments, and drive them to the hospital or clinic. If you're allowed to be present at the appointment, document the information, and ask questions to help them remember the details. They may need help sorting out health insurance issues or other medical situations.

Ask Questions

Asking questions and determining how your loved one feels can help you proceed. Don't push them to talk if they need time to process, but be willing to listen when they're ready. Consider asking about their feelings, their treatment options, and how you can help. Harvard Medical School advises practicing empathy and realizing they may be sad or angry or have other negative feelings because of the diagnosis. Don't take it personally if they snap at you or don't want to talk.

Do Fun Things

A medical condition can limit what you can do or change the things you normally do, but find ways to enjoy time together. There are many things to do in the Logansport area that you can adapt to.

Find Local Support

Help your loved one find local resources and support. If the chronic condition causes mobility issues, you may help your loved one use a transportation service to get around the area. Local support groups for chronic conditions in general or the specific condition your loved one has can also help.

Help Your Loved One

When a loved one is diagnosed with a chronic health condition, it can be scary for everyone. The best way to help is find ways to relieve stress. Making changes to the home environment can improve wellness and reduce stress. Seemingly small changes like adding houseplants, reducing clutter, and letting in more natural light can make a huge impact.

Finding ways to support them can help you manage the situation. If you need expert help with insurance needs, give Hometown Health Solutions a call at (574) 722-4725.

June Duncan

www.riseupforcaregivers.org

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