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Having a family member with a chronic illness can be tough on all of you. It is especially tough on the main caregiver and it can be difficult to know how to act and what to do when the person who needs care is your relative. Sometimes we struggle to put ourselves first and end up taking too much time out of our lives caring for them, which can negatively impact our own health. Other times we don’t allow them enough freedom and independence. If you are a caregiver to a family member suffering from a chronic illness, here are a few ways to ensure that you do what is best for both of you.
Keeping Your Cool
Looking after a family member can be difficult in terms of your relationship. It can be harder to keep your calm when you are looking after a family member with a chronic illness, especially if you believe they are asking more of you than they need to. Family members can stress each other out and arguments do happen. If you are someone’s main caregiver, it may be that you do not agree on everything.
If you do believe they could be doing more for themselves or they are asking more of you than humanly possible, speak to them. They may not notice how much pressure they are putting on you, or they may just be lonely and want a family member close. Chronic illnesses are tough and often come with chronic pain, which can affect someone’s mood. If you are their main caregiver, it may be that they take this out on you sometimes. Try to remember that this is due to the pain they are in and don’t snap back.
Allowing Them to Be as Independent as Possible
One of the problems with looking after a family member with a chronic illness is we often take over, not letting them do as much as they want or need to do. This could cause them to become lazy or rely on you too much. Many people with chronic illnesses have some form of dependency and this ultimately comes down to what their chronic illness is and how much it affects their everyday life.
If you look after a family member that isn’t living with you and they want to stay living independently, Bay Alarm Medical’s medical alert system can help them to stay safe whilst being alone. These alarms allow them to call for help if they need to in an emergency situation such as a fall.
Looking After Yourself
How can you possibly be a good caregiver for your family member if you do not look after yourself? When it is a family member that needs looking after, it can be even harder to say no, but sometimes you need to put yourself first. Ensure that no matter what, you are still looking after your own physical and mental health. It can be difficult being a caregiver for a chronically ill person, especially if that person is your partner. Talking to each other about things and also having something outside of being a caregiver allows you to have some space when you need it. It is important to get on with your life as normally as possible and not let a chronic illness take over the whole family.
Living with a chronic illness is difficult and it takes a toll on family and caregivers too. Try to not take things to heart if your family member is having a rough day and remember to take some time for yourself too.
This list is just a rough guide, and nothing in this review should be taken as medical advice. Always be sure to check with your doctor before you start on any new treatment or protocol.
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