During our lives, there will be a moment when someone we know, or love will encounter injury or illness. In these circumstances, we can often feel helpless and uncertain about how we can support our loved one.
We wonder what the best way is to support the patient. How can we comfort them? What are the right words? What questions should we avoid?
If you are supporting a loved one through their illness or injury, here are some ideas to help reduce your anxiety and improve communications.
- Learn more about their condition
Understanding the illness or injury that your loved one is suffering from is a good initial step. Knowing common symptoms and treatments will help you be informed.
Reading about other people’s experiences with the condition will also help you to empathise and better relate to your loved one’s experiences.
- Establish a good support network
Often when we are supporting a loved one through tough times, we need comfort and support ourselves. Consider joining a support group to connect you with families that are facing similar experiences.
You can also speak with your loved one’s doctor or medical professionals which will provide you with a better understanding of their health status and provide you with an expert support network.
- Stay calm and avoid becoming frustrated
People going through treatment for injury or illness can become more emotionally needy, angry, sad and distant. If this happens, don’t get frustrated with your them – try to remain calm.
Normally, tension will pass and your loved one will feel safe in the knowledge that you are there to offer support in the good times and the bad.
- Be positive about the future
The future may not seem a positive place when a loved one is undergoing treatment. Talking about the future in a positive light can help to reduce this anxiety.
Making upcoming medical appointments, addressing financial matters and even planning social occasions can help everyone to see the future with a positive mindset.
- Be honest and listen
It is important for people to feel validated and acknowledged while battling illness and injury, and this goes for physical or mental health concerns.
Your loved one may want to discuss their concerns or needs and the best support you can offer is a supportive shoulder and willing ear.