It can seem like a two-handed blow when a loved one gets diagnosed with a serious illness. Not only will you face all kinds of emotions on your own, but you’ll also need to support the other person in their time of need. Here are just a few tips for taking care of everyone, including yourself, during a health crisis.
Follow Their Lead
It’s their life. It’s their diagnosis. As long as they aren’t causing harm to themselves or others, your loved one should be allowed to come to grips with their condition in whatever way brings them the most comfort. Whether this means silently grieving or throwing themselves into treatments and walkathons for their condition, you shouldn’t try to control their emotional response. Just support them in whatever that they choose to do.
Consider Treatment Options
It can be tough for people to look towards the future when they’re still stuck in the initial shock of a bad diagnosis. However, you’ll want to consider different treatment options as soon as possible, especially if their condition will get worse with time. For example, if they’re experiencing kidney failure, they might need to decide right away if they’d like to go on dialysis as CKD treatment, or get on a waiting list for a transplant. You can help them weigh all of their potential choices before it’s too late.
Build a Supportive Network
This can help both you and your loved one deal with the emotional fallout of their illness. On their end, a support group can connect them with other individuals who are fighting the same disease. On your end, a network of friends and family members can ease some of the burdens that you’ll face as a caregiver. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help when you’re struggling.
Prepare for Tomorrow
If your loved one has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, it might seem like there’s nothing to do but wait. On the contrary, however, you can find a lot of peace in preparing for the future. You can help your loved one come to terms with their condition, and you can work together to get their affairs in order. There have even been studies about the best ways to deal with anticipatory grief: Things like the narrative approach have been shown to reduce stress, anxiety and uncertainty with terminal patients and their families.
These are just a few things to keep in mind while your loved one is fighting a disease. It might be a difficult road, but there’s always a way to keep walking. Use these tips to make the path a bit smoother.