A Guide to Helping People with Chronic Illness

A Guide to Helping People with Chronic Illness

Chronic health conditions reduce quality of life and can be difficult to cope with. When you know someone with a chronic health condition, it’s natural to want to help them — but how? Sometimes, we try to offer help only to find that we’ve made things worse. Being tactful about offering assistance to a suffering loved one is nine-tenths of helping. 

How to Help Someone with Chronic Health Issues

Understanding how to help someone with chronic health issues isn’t straightforward. Neglecting to think carefully about it could lead you to do the wrong thing. The last thing you want is to upset them when they’re already dealing with pain. Here are some unique ways to help your loved one the right way.

1. Listen Intently to Their Feelings

Don’t expect that you already know how they’re feeling. Appreciate that they may be experiencing something you don’t understand, and listen intently to their feelings. Illness is difficult enough without carrying the psychological burden alone. Let them know you’re there and willing to listen to their troubles.

2. Create a Stress-Free Environment

Stress only contributes to the difficulty of chronic illness. Help your loved one reduce the stress in their home and in their life. Whether it’s organizing their home or helping them steer clear of toxic relationships, figure out ways to eliminate stress from their environment. 

If they’re working from home, help them create a stress-free environment in their home office. Consider buying them plants, a water fountain, or other household items that invoke a sense of calm. Whether their home office is in a small apartment or a sprawling home in Atlanta, these additions will contribute to a less stressful atmosphere.

3. Avoid Toxic Positivity

Toxic positivity is the belief that people should have a positive mentality no matter how awful or tough circumstances are. It’s an “only positive vibes” way of viewing life. While being an optimist and exercising positive thinking has merits, toxic positivity rejects uncomfortable feelings in favor of a happy, often falsely optimistic, exterior. Make sure you’re comfortable with hearing about difficult issues and don’t force positivity on them.

4. Encourage Healthy Habits

Chronic health conditions can sometimes lead to feelings of apathy. Approximately one-third of people with a chronic illness will suffer depressive symptoms. This can make looking after your health more difficult, so there’s value in trying to encourage your loved one to have healthy habits. 

Steer them toward healthier foods, physical exercise (if possible), and mental relaxation. Mindfulness meditation improves quality of life for people with chronic illness. Invite them to do a guided meditation with you or attend a local mindfulness class. No matter where you live, mindfulness classes are easy to find either locally or online.

Offering Intelligent Compassion

Knowing how to help someone with chronic illness isn’t always easy, and it’s not always clear what needs to be done. Listening to their needs, understanding their feelings, and helping them explore their options are good ways to help start helping them. If you’re trying to help a chronically ill loved one, consider care options from Vydya Health to make them feel more revived and help them cope.