10 Tips to Support Someone With a Chronic Illness

For those of us living with a chronic illness, we know what we need as support from our family and friends.  For those that do not live with a chronic illness, they may not know how to support their friends and/or family living with a chronic illness.

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1.  Be understanding if plans are cancelled or changed – even at the last minute.

Flares and other symptoms wax and wane without warning.  Someone with a chronic illness can be okay one moment then very quickly change to quite ill the next minute.  Having supportive family and friends that understand this – and not make us feel guilty for canceling – is essential to an effective support system.

2.  Do your own research about their chronic illness.  

Telling someone else about living with a chronic illness can be difficult.  We don’t know how much to tell to the other person about our illness.  Too much and it can be overwhelming for the other person.  Too little and they are left in the dark about our illness.

3.  Text, message, or email.
 
Personally, I can’t always take a call.  It may be loud kids or I just don’t feel well; however, I always get happy to see text messages, Facebook messages, or emails from my family and friends.

4.  Let them know you appreciate the time spent together.  

It’s hard to get off the couch or out of the house to follow through with plans, so having others understand and appreciate that effort means a lot.
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6.  Don’t pretend to understand.
 
Sometimes not knowing what to say is okay.  Often times silence is calming.  Offering kind, but false, words are not always the answer.  Be honest and let your family/friend with chronic illness know that you may not understand what they are going through, but you are there for support.

7.  Take their kids for a play date.
 
If you are willing to watch their kids, call to let them know your kids would love to play with their kids and then offer to pick them up and take them home.  This would be a great chance for your family/friend with a chronic illness to get some peace and quiet without feeling guilty about asking.  This will work wonders for someone feeling ill!
8.  Ask about appointments.  

Write down when your family/friend with a chronic illness has physical therapy, physician appointments, or labs done, then call around that time to ask how it went.  Often times these appointments are draining – emotionally and/or physically. Having a family/friend that calls to check on us shows that we have a reliable support system.

9.  Pray for them.  Pray for their healing.

You can pray with them or without them.  If you pray without them, you don’t have to tell them, but praying for them without telling them will be just as effective.

10.  Be present and reliable.  

Not in an overwhelming, constantly in your face type of presence, but be there when your family/friend with chronic illness calls you.  Be reliable if you tell your family/friend that you will be there to listen or lend support when they need it.

Today’s guest poster is Brandi, who blogs at Being Fibro Mom.  Brandi is a follower of Christ, wife to an amazing, supportive husband, blessed mother to four sweet children, and fibromyalgia thriver.
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Are you living with a chronic illness? Have you found ways to cope that would help others? If you would like to share your tips and tricks, contact me at vicky@livingthediagnosis.com, I would love to help you share your message!

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