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Supporting Someone with a Chronic Illness: Dos and Don’ts

People who have a chronic illness deserve understanding and compassion. These are diseases or conditions that last a year or longer and include very challenging diseases to cope with, such as diabetes or heart disorders.

Coping day by day is hard when one is chronically sick, as these people usually face continuous restrictions in movement and independence. Dependent living is not easy to bear.

Most people suffering from chronic diseases, due to their situation, require help cooking, cleaning, or even bathing themselves.


The emotional burden of chronic diseases or conditions must be brought out. Most feel helpless because of the demands of their illnesses. They are dependent on caregivers and loved ones for physical care and psychological support. These relationships, therefore, call for compassion and patience since they help share the burden of chronic diseases.

It means more than physically taking care of the patient if one has a chronic sickness. Rather, it is to understand, to listen, to reassure him. Sensitivity and an atmosphere of empathy can terribly improve the quality of life for those living with chronic illnesses.

Dos in Chronic Diseases:

1. Educate Yourself: Take time out to understand your loved one’s specific chronic condition. Understanding the condition will help in support and communication with health professionals.

2. Empathize and Show Understanding: It may be such that he gets tired physically and emotionally at times. Show this through active listening, acknowledging their challenges, and serving them with emotional support.

3. Encourage Independence: While support is a very necessary factor, it is equally important to encourage them towards independence wherever possible and self-help can still be managed. Help them find ways of managing everyday activities that they are able to do on their own so that they still feel in control of their lives.

Helping someone who has a chronic illness requires both practical and emotional support and through advocacy. When you focus on these dos, you will add much toward making a good difference in their quality of life and well-being.

DON’T 

In chronic diseases, avoid:
1. Neglecting their emotional needs.
2. Assuming their limitations or capabilities.
3. Being dismissive of their pain or challenges.
4. Pressuring them to “get better” quickly.

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Source: HT

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