How to Support a Family Member with a Chronic Illness



Many chronic conditions can be painful and challenging to live with. They often target not only physical health but mental wellness as well. When you have a loved one having to cope with such a situation, it can be difficult to figure out how best you can help. If you’re worried about what the best steps you can take are, here are some things you can do for them as they get through life.

  • Take an active role in getting information.

One of the best proactive things you can do is to stay informed about critical parts of their condition. Learn about their lifestyle do’s and don’ts, treatment options, symptoms, and complications. That is simply a practical thing you should take on if you want to be able to provide comfort and support to them.

There are medical research clinics in Miami that specifically cater to chronic diseases and possible treatment options and innovations in medicine. It may serve you well to take a visit and learn more or even take part in a trial that can make strides in finding a cure or any form of reprieve for your loved one.

  • Empathize but don’t internalize

Empathy and sympathy are big feelings that take over when someone we care about is suffering. These can be a useful tool in connecting with our loved ones and providing some comfort to them when they feel emotionally turbulent. However, it can be counterproductive if you take everything in too much.

Research suggests that expending too much physiological energy because of too much internalization through empathy can have significant effects on your own health and well-being. That can only make it harder for you to actively aid the loved one you want to be of help to. On top of this, you may open yourself to slipping into feelings of woe that would only make it about you, which will be unhelpful to the person with the chronic condition. It’s especially counterproductive if you make them feel like you exactly know what they’re going through when, in reality, you likely have a different experience.

  • Be patient and stay present.

This step may seem like a simple thing, but as the nature of chronic illnesses go, it is likely either a long-term or even lifelong battle to contend with. Remember that if you’re feeling tired, they are most likely feeling it tenfold. While it’s good to take time for yourself so you can be as supportive as possible, take the time to be present even as time goes by.

Being there does a lot for the well-being and happiness of your loved one. It doesn’t have to take too much out of your day or resources. You don’t always have to hammer in positivity, but doing little things like listening, doing something that you know cheer them up, and sticking around can be some of the most impactful things you can do for someone.

Around 40 million Americans suffer from a chronic disease, so keep in mind that you are not alone in this journey. Though you may not be able to alleviate the condition, you can do a lot to help improve the quality of life for your loved one.