Through all stages of life, our satisfaction and our happiness depend largely on the quality of our relationships with others. For those suffering from chronic disease, the stress of coping can put significant strain on the relationships that should form one’s support group. Since knowing what to expect can help you recognize and resolve problems, it’s important not to ignore or brush over sources of conflict. Here are some common ways that long-term illness can affect your bonds with others (and how you can cope).
Most patients with severe or progressive illness find themselves to be much more limited than they used to be. As such, their ability to spend time with loved ones might suffer as a result. Low energy levels make it hard to participate in your favorite activities which, in turn, limits the amount of quality time spent with loved ones.
How to cope: Since you may no longer have the energy to do everything, be sure to prioritize the activities that are most important to you. By saving your energy for quality interactions, you help maintain strong bonds with those around you.
Though limited interactions with others can put strain on old friendships, it may be your relationships with those closest to you that are most affected. Primary caregivers carry a heavy load for their ill loved ones, and much of that strain is emotional. Meanwhile, sick family members are coping with limited independence in addition to their physical problems. Put together, such factors can put huge stress on these bonds.
How to cope: Open communication keeps resentment from taking its toll. Rather than ignoring stress – or even hiding your feelings – be sure that your loved ones understand your emotions and know your needs. In particular, be sure to show appreciation for the role that each member takes on.
Living with chronic illness means more than coping with pain or physical changes. Long-term changes to one’s health can be so dramatic that they begin to make you feel like you are part of a distinct culture. You can’t move around as easily as other people do. For some, their day is built around medication schedules and treatments that make it impossible to maintain a normal schedule. Eventually, many start to feel that they have little in common with their old support group.
How to cope: Changes in your or your loved one’s health don’t have to be ignored, let alone hidden. Learning to accept your “new normal” can help you find balance in your new lifestyle. Many even find it helpful to seek out social groups with similar health problems, people who understand your struggle and have firsthand experience. Whether you are coping with disease or caring for a family member, such groups can provide valuable insight that will help you to adjust.
At Fedelta Home Care, we specialize in helping patients and their family members lead rich, fulfilling lives despite their physical limitations. A part or full-time caregiver can help you deal with the stress and complications of disease, allowing you to focus on what’s most important. Our services include simple consultations, part-time assistance, or even full-time caregiving. No matter what your circumstances may be, we can find a solution that meets your demands. Contact us today to learn more about our services.