Chronic illness affects every member of the family. It disrupts family life, puts a strain on finances and creates painful emotions. Nevertheless, it is possible to maintain a positive atmosphere as you cope and manage life at home.
Here are seven tips to help family members meet the challenges brought upon by chronic illness.
Revise Expectations of Family Life.
Family life will no longer resemble what it used it be or what you once expected it to be. You can still be there for your family but adjustments will have to be made. In order to move on and to change your life path, you need let go of the expectations you once had for yourself and for loved ones. Holding on to the idea of the lives we had or planned doesn’t allow us to live in the present and to handle what is real.
Learn to Put Your Needs Ahead of Others.
Putting your needs ahead of children and a spouse is a tough choice, but it is a necessary one. While our families need us, they also need us to be strong, healthy and around for the long term. In order to do that, we must care for ourselves and learn to put our health first.
Deal with Fatigue and Symptoms.
Different treatment options will help you to ease fatigue and symptoms. Light daily exercise and decreasing your workload will help you to reduce and manage stress. Your workload should be at a level that helps you to balance your health alongside your life and family demands.
Ask for Help.
Asking for help and accepting help can be a challenge for many people with chronic illness. But there are big benefits to accepting help. These include decreasing isolation when you are part of a support community, getting the help you need, such as getting to appointments or getting your home cleaned, and allowing others to feel useful. Remember, help is available but you have to be willing to seek it and ask for it.
It is important to be constantly aware of your family’s financial situation. You should learn all you can about your medical insurance so as to keep medical costs low. Talk to your doctor if you are struggling to pay for medications because he or she can offer medication samples, write prescriptions for generics, and even offer information about medication assistance programs. Moreover, you should prioritize your bills and expenses and always pay bills on time to avoid late fees. Last, balance your checkbook and keep track of your spending so you do not overstretch your finances.
Consider Chronic Illness Counseling.
Chronic illness counseling can help people cope with the emotional challenges brought on by their diseases. Living with a chronic condition can disrupt daily routines, overstretch family finances and create conflicts. Further, patients and their family members can struggle with depression and anxiety as a result of chronic illness’s affect on their daily lives. Counseling can help the household deal with the initial shock of the diagnosis, teach stress reduction and coping strategies and improve self-esteem.
Be Open to a Positive Experience.
Life can be still be positive despite the challenges brought on by chronic illness. Because chronic illness is here for the rest of our lives, it is important to have a positive outlook. Positive living might seem difficult but it is necessary for coping and avoiding depression. Being open to a positive experience allows you think positively about your disease and your life. You decide to cherish life and you start living rather than wallowing in self-pity. You make the choice to look at life differently and you rearrange your plans so you can still accomplish what you need and want out of life. Remind yourself that everything happens for a reason and that you can still have control of your life. In thinking positively, you are working toward a better quality of life for yourself and your loved ones.
Originally posted at Arthritis Connect.