When someone is dealing with chronic disease and multiple illnesses, it takes its toll on the person experiencing it as well as those family members and friends who are closest to the person. We all approach life differently. Some dwell when the going gets tough and some thrive on not going down without a fight! There are also moments when we bounce between them. What helps is our support system. Here are some tips to help someone you love cope with the complexities of their illness.
Do Your Research
The best thing you can do is understand what the person you care for is going through. Research the disease or illness. Understand its signs and symptoms. Get a grip on the long term affects of the health issues and learn about the treatment options. This will help future conversations, aide in empathy and prepare you for what’s to come.
Ask How They Are Feeling
People want to know you care for them. Asking someone who is experiencing a chronic illness shows compassion and concern. The concern should be genuine, so don’t ask if you aren’t really ready to hear the truth. Also, it’s not a requirement to ask every time to you speak to the person. There’s a fine line between empathy and pity. It’s okay to join a pity party once in a while, but as a friend or loved one, it’s our job to invite our beloved to other parties too!
Visit – Social Support is Crucial
If you try to schedule a visit with someone who has a chronic condition, more often than not, they aren’t really ready for visitors. Some of that could be do to lack of sleep, depression, not feeling like their home is ready for visitors, etc. But plan on visiting with little to no notice. They will appreciate it more than they can express and socializing with friends and family often leads to laughter and a feeling of being loved and supported.
Assist With Meals or Groceries
It’s important to ask your friend or loved one if they need assistance. They may say no or not really know what they need help with so bringing a meal to enjoy together that has plenty of left overs can be very helpful. You can also check to see if they have fresh food, help make sure food isn’t expired. See if they need any basic bathing and grooming supplies as well!
Offer to Help Schedule or Attend an Appointment
Getting around or motivated to make appointments could be challenge for people will various illnesses. See if they could use some help by offering to take them to an appointment if you can. This could be to a doctor or even to get their hair cut! Even just sitting together to make some phone calls to schedule the appointments can be helpful and give you both something to do when you are together. Feeling productive can lift the spirit!
Pray or Read Together
If you and your friend are religious, consider praying together at home or if they can get out of the house, attend a service together. Maybe neither of you are spiritual, so try reading a news article or a book together. Afterwards, you can discuss what you just read. Sometimes sharing simple experiences can elevate someone’s mood.
At Spring Hills Senior Communities, our Signature Touch programs offer a holistic approach to healthcare with techniques and expertise to help manage clinical complexities. Our nursing staff is fully trained to properly administer medication even for multiple diagnoses. In addition, working with the latest technology allows for electronic records, increasing our efficiency and accuracy. Our activities and dining teams are made aware of any diagnoses that a senior may have in order to accommodate their meals or the activities schedule accordingly. Having multiple diagnoses is a very common occurrence among seniors, up to one in four according to CDC. So, with that in mind, it is very important to follow all steps to ensure that older adults with clinical complexities are cared for properly to enjoy life to the fullest while in our care.