How to Help a Relative with a Long-Term Condition

It can be hard to emotionally digest the news when a diagnosis is either terminal or permanent. Taking in the information when the diagnosis is delivered is the hardest step, and the second part is the long-term care. For many of us, survival instinct kicks in, which means that we don’t really have an option to think about whether we are capable of providing such care. Instead, we mentally prepare ourselves to muck in and be a pillar of support when we are needed.

Don’t vent your grief to the relative
This is a hard one, particularly if you are living in close quarters with the relative. Of course, being upset in front of the relative in question is sometimes impossible. However, it may be helpful to them for you to vent your emotions to a different party. It’s not helpful to hide your feelings, but it may be encouraging to your relative if you provide the sense that it will be okay and that you are all coping. This, of course, may be slightly untrue, but venting your worries to another relative or friend in the meantime will help you explain how you really feel without worrying your affected family member.

Consider care

There may come a point in the process when you have to consider finding care for the relative in question. This can be quite a pivotal change, and you will want to ensure that their living conditions will be of a high quality and that they will be treated with absolute respect. Those at, for example, provide extensive care for those suffering with dementia and other long-term illnesses.

If you are currently the main care-giver or are about to become a carer, then try not to panic or worry about your capabilities. The best approach you can take is to stay educated and organised. For example, if your loved-one requires regular medication, which they may not remember to take, then put this in your diary too. Setting daily reminders for tasks and obligations will help remove the anxiety that you might have forgotten something.

Ongoing consent

If you are helping your relative undergo treatment and care, you will likely need to accompany them to doctor’s appointments and maybe even fetch medication for them on the odd occasion. It is, therefore, important that you obtain written consent from your relative to let you do this. If their condition is deteriorating quickly, you may have to be the main go-between with their doctor, but regulations insist that there is documented proof that you have the consent to do so.

Scheduling medication, making emergency trips to the hospital and arranging care-giving hours with relatives are all part and parcel when it comes to looking after a relative. By staying in contact with your doctor and organising your days efficiently, there is no need to feel out of your depth. It may, on occasion, be hard to keep a brave face, but always remember that you are doing your best.

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