Knowing when to be a carer, a family member, or a friend

November 2, 2018
It's important to know how to support the people you care about.

When someone you love is living with a health issue, the impact of it can affect your relationship. With everything changing, it’s hard to figure out what you can do to help. Knowing how to support a loved one with health issues can be tough, but remembering a few basic things can help.

Separating your needs from theirs

When confronted with someone you love becoming ill, it’s easy to lose yourself in worrying over their needs and how they are managing. However, it’s also important to acknowledge how you’re dealing with this change as it can subconsciously influence your interactions with them.

Make sure you're there for your loved ones.It’s important to not confuse what you think your loved one needs with what they actually require.

Sometimes, when you’re busy organising or trying to support them, it’s more about what you need than what they require. Instead of a carer, they could simply want a friend who’s there to bring some normality back into their lives. Remember to look past your expectations, and take some time to listen to what they’re asking for.

Supporting a loved one with health issues

Health issues affect everyone differently, and even someone you know inside-out may react in a way you didn’t expect. Try to leave any preconceived notions behind. Make them feel safe, knowing you’ll listen and understand no matter how they’re feeling.

1. Contact

Reach out to your loved one often, even if it’s just to send them a short message letting them know you’re there. Feeling connected to people who love them shows they’re not going through it alone.

It’s also important for them to remain themselves during this time. Knowing how to act when supporting loved ones requires remembering that they’re still themselves, and treating them accordingly.

2. Do research

Find out what you can about their health issue. Understanding what they are living with gives you a better perspective on how to help, and allows them to talk with you about it.

Make sure your loved one doesn't feel isolated, and knows that they have a support network to lean on when needed. Knowing that they’re not isolated, and have a support network around them, means a lot to individuals living with health issues.

3. Support lifestyle changes 

Often health issues call for a change in lifestyle. To make this easier for your loved one, consider whether you can make the shift yourself. For example, if more exercise is called for, go walking together. Just like you’d support their other endeavours, treat this adjustment as a new challenge that you’re tackling with them.

4. Managing health

Sometimes you may find it necessary to be more than just a friend or family member and step into the role of a carer as well. Make sure you use sensitivity and tact while doing this. Attempt to care for them in a way that encourages their independence, and reminds them that they have control over their life. Help them set up reminders for medication, or choose connected care solutions with them that provide unobtrusive support.

It’s not always easy knowing how to offer the right support to someone living with a health issue. However, at Tunstall Healthcare, we’re here to help with care solutions so that you can spend more quality time with the person you love.