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How To Cope When A Family Member Is Ill

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A high level of stress in our daily lives, deteriorating surroundings, and other negative factors make us fall sick. But there are tips you can apply to help you cope when a family member is ill.

Whether it is acute or not, sickness can be challenging to handle. There is no doubt about the marvelous relief science has brought to tackle various illnesses and disease conditions. 

However, falling sick is an inevitable occurrence we have to live with. When this happens to a loved one, we can never be prepared and ready enough. So, how do you cope when a family member is ill? Here are seven ways to cope: 

1. Have The Right Mindset

Any disruption to our usual routine of life tends to be strenuous, regardless of the cause. 

Even in the case of a brief illness, it becomes necessary for you to make adjustments and sacrifices. However, you might find making the required concessions for temporary sickness is easier.

On the other hand, what if the illness is severe and the adjustment will be a prolonged time. For instance, a parent is disabled by Alzheimer’s disease, or a sibling is paralyzed from an accident. 

Your initial reaction might be feeling pity for the affected person. As time passes, your activities are more affected and freedom limited. Consequently, you might begin to have feelings of resentment and anger.

Having the right mindset is very important in this situation. It determines how you will approach the challenges ahead of you. 

Further, it will take real effort to overcome negative feelings associated with people caring for their sick loved ones.

Some common negative feelings you should circumvent.

  • Guilt: this might occur when you begin to think your efforts are not good enough or as a result of you being healthy and your folks’ lies sick.
  • Annoyance: seeing your loved one suffer is no easy task and might begin to make you angry at everything and everyone, especially if the possibility of death is very high.
  • Jealousy: Comparing others who have no responsibility similar to yours as you make sacrifices to care for your loved one, you begin to feel jealous of the other person.
  • Lonely: the ability to communicate with others who do not understand your situation can be weary. Also, when it becomes difficult to talk to a sick person, it can leave you worn out. Loneliness then creeps in slowly.
  • Scared: When a sick loved one’s situation becomes more complicated, it is normal to feel scared, although you want to keep it in check so it does not hinder your judgment.

2. Set Your Priorities

It is important family members come together to discuss the situation created by the illness. If you are the only family member available, analyzing and planning for the situation falls on you. 

Making plans for financial and medical decisions should be prioritized.

Further arrangements for the primary caregiver should be taken care of, and necessary support for the caregiver should be included. 

You may also want to share responsibilities with others who are in a position to help. Avoid trying to do everything by yourself.

3. Learn More About The Ailment

To be able to provide the required care, gathering necessary information about the sickness is key to you. Speak with the physician who cares for your sick loved one about the affliction. 

Read more about it online and request more information from your Local Authority. Moreover, the more you understand the ailment, the better equipped you are to cope.

You can better understand when the sufferer wants to talk about their challenges with the information you get. 

As a result of your improved knowledge of the ailment, you will ask for the ailing family member’s preferred treatment choices and wishes. Then you can make decisions for your sick one when necessary, based on their preference.

Most importantly, you will communicate regularly with the physician if there are any new symptoms or new developments, as they are frequently limited by confidentiality. 

Find out from them what applies to different situations and what are the best alternatives.

4. Adapt To New Roles

Adjusting is never easy, as we mentioned earlier, but necessary to be able to cope successfully. For example, the home’s breadwinner can’t work anymore due to illness. This new situation might require filling of new and changing roles by you.

You might need to get a job to support the home and still take care of the chores at home. Severe illness can be a fluid situation. 

Ingenuity and improvising may be necessary. So you have to be open to filling in new roles as the condition demands. 

5. Refuel Your Tank

Refueling your tank from time to time will help you to cope when a family member is ill. Caregiving can be strenuous; hence you need to find time to refresh yourself to be able to go again. 

No doubt about the seriousness of the family’s situation, yet everyone still has personal needs that require filling. However, neglecting your needs will make you weary and the task of caring burdensome.

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Eat nutritiously, have a good sleep. Go for walks and plan a fun time for the family. These activities can be done as a family unit or individually. 

Remember to delegate chores, so it becomes light for everyone to do their part, effectively caring for the sick one.

Smiles, laughter, and joy create a calm and good environment. This can promote physical improvement and mental health for both the ailing one and the family members caring for them.

6. Help The Kids To Understand 

Since children are also part of the family, they ought to know the new situation and what they can do to help.

For example, if the family’s ailing member is a child, explain to other siblings the situation to help them understand that the extra care and attention given to that sick one does not make the others less important.

Rather than let the healthy kids begin to hold a grudge towards the sick sibling, you can help them form a closer bond by cooperating in handling the situation caused by the ailment. Moreover, kids will likely respond better when you appeal to their feelings. 

Avoid lengthy or complex explanations about the sickness. Let them see the restrictions the illness has on their sibling. Also, this will help them show empathy and be willing to assist where necessary.

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You can explain the situation to the older kids, as the medical condition might have some effect on the finances. 

As a result, some luxuries might not be available, and they are required to make sacrifices too to help. 

7. Reach Out For Help

Another way to cope when a family member is ill is to ask for possible help. To cope successfully with sickness in the house, you need all the help you can get. 

Reach out to friends and family and accept their offer to assist in whatever capacity. It can be easy to lose touch with your environment in this situation. 

You can also get assistance to ease the stress on family members, perhaps showing compassion.

Accept invitations for dinner, movie nights, and playdates for your kids. If possible, hire a home care nurse for a day or two every week or a housekeeper to help a few times a month. 

Try online shopping for groceries and have them delivered to your home.

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By Daniels Nanna

Nanna Daniels is a legal practitioner and writer. His practice as a lawyer and a writer is as diverse as his client base. His client ranges from government bodies to banks, private companies in real estate, energy companies, telecommunications to small businesses, families, and individuals. He is a passionate and diligent analyst of family, sports and business concepts, providing in-depth knowledge and analysis. He has covered topics ranging from family, parenting to entrepreneurship.

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