Helping Your Loved One through the Challenges of a Chronic Illness
When someone has been diagnosed with a chronic illness, it generally means that they have a disease that lasts for a year or longer. Ongoing medical care, everyday challenges, and lifestyle adjustments follow such a diagnosis, and it can be difficult for an individual to manage their new routine by themselves.
If you are caring for a loved one with a chronic disease, you must prepare and take some practical steps to help both you and your loved one maintain quality of life. Below, we list some ideas to get you started.
Research the Condition
Knowledge is power when it comes to caring for your loved one with a chronic illness. Start by researching their condition. Learn about the challenges they are currently going through and those that they should prepare for. Having more information will allow you to help your loved one make decisions, such as which doctors to choose, treatments to try, and lifestyle changes to make.
Clean the House
Another way that you can help your loved one through the difficulties of their condition is to make sure their house stays clean and tidy. Carve out time to declutter every space of the home, and help your loved one decide which belongings to keep, sell, donate, or throw away.
Also, you might consider hiring a professional cleaning service to deep clean the home; this can make a big difference if you are already stretched for time and stressed out. Once the home is thoroughly cleaned, keep it that way. Come up with a practical cleaning routine that helps you maintain a positive, healthy, and organized living environment.
Whether or not your loved one needs home modifications depends on several factors, including their specific condition, age, and home layout. For illnesses that cause limited mobility, you might consider adding a zero-step entry, as well as installing non-slip mats on the floors and grab bars in the bathrooms. Walk-in tubs and shower chairs are other options.
Some modifications can be DIYed, but the bigger projects will require a professional. You may even think about hiring a professional lawn care service to keep the yard in pristine shape. Search “landscaping near me” to vet and find ratings for landscaping companies.
Caring for your loved one is a lot of responsibility, and you must ensure that you don’t overextend and burn out. If there are friends or family members that could help, come up with a schedule and delegate tasks throughout the week.
Everyone can benefit from a consistent fitness routine, but it is especially important for people who are struggling with a chronic condition. Talk to your loved one about any physical activities they enjoy, and figure out a plan for working out at least four days a week.
Finally, remember to show compassion and empathy to your loved one as they are going through this difficult time in their life. As you research their condition, you will probably become more empathetic to their plight. But when times get tough, be patient, and remember that your loved one didn’t ask for this.
Helping a loved one through a chronic illness diagnosis and their life thereafter can be rewarding, but it can also be very taxing on the body, mind, and soul. Make sure you are doing everything you can to prepare for your new responsibilities, and take care of yourself in the process. The tips above can help you get off to a good start, but never stop learning other strategies and habits that can help you and your loved one get through this journey together.
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