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6 Tips for Coping with a Loved One's Serious Illness
6 Tips for Coping with a Loved One's Serious Illness
09/11/2017

When a family member or friend becomes seriously ill, there can be a sense of chaos, urgency, and confusion. Different people respond in different ways, and you may not know what to say or do. Here are 6 tips for coping with a loved one’s serious illness:

  1. Treat them as normally as possible. After the initial shock of the diagnosis has subsided, many people will want you to treat them the same way you always have. Otherwise, they feel like they’re already dead.

  2. Be there. The best way to be there for someone is to do just that - be there. Give hugs and act lovingly.

  3. Don’t try to be their therapist. Dying isn’t a science. Don’t assume that someone who is terminally ill is going through certain stages or some other methodical process. The hope is that they come to some point of acceptance so they’re not emotionally suffering, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes denial is a good thing. They may be afraid of the pain or losing control of their mind and/or bodily functions. They may hate being a burden on others. There simply is no right or wrong way to deal with it.

  4. Find a minister or counselor. Sometimes it’s easier for them to talk to non-family members.

  5. Talk about their life with them. Listening to stories and sharing laughs about someone’s life often makes that person recognize that he/she has had a rich life.

  6. Express the truth about how you feel. When you’re losing someone you love, grief is a very natural response, and it’s extremely overwhelming. You may feel inappropriate guilt about not doing or saying the right thing. You need to find someone to talk to that really hears you.  

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Tags: Mental Health, Personal Responsibility, Stress, Tips, Values
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