7 Things You Can Do For Someone with Chronic Illness

7 Things You Can Do For Someone with Chronic Illness

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7 Things You Can Do For Someone with Chronic Illness - #chronicillness #caregiver #friendship #stigmaIn my experience, most people do not know how to respond to someone that has a long term illness. They feel like nothing they do is going to help the situation. To compound this, the person who is sick is waiting on someone to help but doesn’t know how to ask. This is a vicious cycle that leads to the isolation most people with chronic illness experience and ends with broken relationships.

With that being said, there are always those fly by night “friends” who only want you during the good times. But the vast majority of people are not that way and would help if they knew what was needed.

7 things you can do to help someone with chronic illness:

  1. Listen! This is absolutely the most important one. If you ask us how we are, please listen to the answer. I have literally had someone cut me off mid-sentence by saying, “good”, even though I was telling them something that wasn’t good. Not only was it rude it made me feel worse than if they hadn’t asked. If you are not prepared to listen to the answer then don’t ask the question.
  2. Talk to us about something besides our illness! Another important one. We live, eat, breathe and sleep our illness. Sometimes it is just nice to talk about something else. It will be a refreshing change and an instant mood booster.
  3. Don’t get upset if we have to cancel at the last minute. Many chronic illness symptoms are unpredictable and making plans is something of a nightmare. Believe me, we desperately want to get out of the house and have some fun and are much more upset at ourselves than you probably are. Just kindly reschedule and keep inviting us.
  4. Communicate! I realize that the phone works both ways but we often worry about bothering people. Please reach out to us if you haven’t heard from us in a while. Don’t worry about catching us at a bad moment because those are actually the times when we need you the most. Text or call but please communicate with us.
  5. Tell us about the good things in your life. Life with chronic illness is pretty mundane and often upsetting. Hearing about the good things in your life will be a pleasure. I am not going to lie and say we aren’t a little envious but we don’t want others to stop living just because our pace has changed. We want to celebrate with you!
  6. Ask what we need. This one seems simple but it is difficult on both sides. You probably think that if we need anything we would just ask. We won’t. In fact, we will probably say we don’t need anything when you do ask. Be specific! “I am going to the grocery store and will be riding by your house. Do you need me to pick something up for you?” I know I would probably ask for an oatmeal raisin cookie from the bakery! 😉
  7. Do not offer treatment advice. We realize that your uncle’s wife’s cousin’s best friend knows someone that used (insert treatment here) and their symptoms went away and life went back to normal. That is awesome! It is perfectly fine to ask us questions about our treatment plan but offering other treatments is just not helpful.

10 things you can do to help someone with chronic illness. #illness #chronicillness #friendship #helpinghandThese are some suggestions that might help you know what to do when someone you know has a chronic illness. Do you know of any others that might work too?


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27 thoughts on “7 Things You Can Do For Someone with Chronic Illness

  1. This was an amazing post with great information to help offer those with a chronic illness support! I loved what you wrote and think it is fantastic ways to help those living with or being around someone with a chronic illness. I do want to ask you a silly question, how did you get involved with affiliate links? I love doing my blog, but it would be great if there was a way to earn a little something extra as my husband is not working and has not been since October and I am working part-time which is pretty difficult.

  2. Thanks for this post Jen. It is hard to know what to do or say. Especially from a distance. I would love to be able to hand deliver an oatmeal cookie to you!

  3. I love this 😱 Also people need to not compare someones chronic illness to cancer 🤦🏼‍♀️ The only thing I’d say is I dont mind people talking to me about my illness because I struggle to get people and doctors to believe there is something wrong with me 🤦🏼‍♀️ Also there needs to be more awareness of my illness 😱
    Abi xx

  4. Great advice, such simple steps can really make a difference. I think many of us forget how to listen effectively. Many times people listen to answer, when we really should be listening to simply listen.

  5. I have a chronic illness and it’s like you took the words straight out my mouth! I might have share this post with some of my friends/family so they can understand it more. Well done 🤟🏻

  6. Offer to do activities that they’re comfortable with if they have to cancel or don’t feel up to going out. It will get them included and not feel like they’re left out of fun activities.

  7. There are many things that one can do to be of assistance to someone with a chronic illness. The best thing we can do to help another is to offer our support and listen. It’s essential we validate those feelings and provide a strong support system and a listening ear.

  8. I think the most important is to really listen and empathize. Having a chronic illness is not a ride in the park. I know because I am suffering from it.

  9. These are all really excellent tips! Numbers 1, 3, and 6 really resonated with me. These are all things I have really struggled with, in getting help for my conditions from a car accident. I am very lucky to have a few people though, that really get me, and have been instrumental in my recovery. The vast majority of people in my life though, never understood, and still don’t understand, what the problem is. With therapy, I’ve learned to set boundaries with these people, to minimize their impact on my recovery.

  10. I can soo relate to this, just few days back I lost my father who was suffering from depression after a cardiac arrest for past 8 months, We had to keep a lot of patience as he started behaving like a small kid and cranky at times. Only therapy that might work is talk to them, make them feel secured and protected and do not get hyper on them.

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