All Women's Talk

7 Tips on How to Cope with a Sick Family Member ...

By Heather

Finding effective ways for how to cope with a sick family member who has an illness is not an easy task. A variety of emotions and factors come into play that can be difficult to deal with in the midst of life’s daily stresses. Whether you’re having to care for them directly or are just unsure of what to say or do around them, try some of these tips below. Understanding how to cope with a sick family member surely isn’t easy, but it is possible with these effective suggestions.

1 Ask for Help

One of the first things you should know when learning how to cope with a sick family member is that you probably can’t do it alone. You’re going to need some help from friends and family in terms of care and emotional support. Don’t be afraid to ask for help getting the family member to the doctor, paying for expenses, and sitting with them while you work. It’s impossible to do alone, so don’t try. You’ll only stress yourself out, and be less effective at caring for them.

2 Manage Your Stress

When caring for a sick family member, you need to be sure to manage your stress however possible. Coping with a sick family member can lead to depression, and even heart disease if you let your stress become out of control. Remember, you’re a person and have to put your health at the top priority, so you can be there for your family as best as possible.


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3 Consider Financial Assistance

One of the biggest stresses on families who need help caring for sick family members is the financial expense. Consider asking for financial assistance from the hospital, a friend, family, or a community outreach program. There are options out there that can help you pay for expenses during this time, and some may even be able to cover the whole cost. Don't work two jobs and try to care for someone all by yourself without asking for help first. You might have better options that are out there for you.

4 Don’t Be Afraid

Many people find themselves fearful of how to deal with family members during a time of illness. Don’t be scared to talk to them because you’ll say the wrong thing. You’re not perfect, and most likely, they would rather you talk to them than avoid them altogether. Talking with your family member about everyday things instead of their illness is also a great way to give their mind a break from thinking about their illness.

5 Don’t Try to Understand It All

If you try to wrap your brain around all the issues that come with a family illness, you’ll drive yourself crazy. Understand they might do and say things you don’t understand while they’re sick. They might also say things to you they don’t mean. Or, you might simply find it hard to know what they’re going through emotionally. Try to be as compassionate as possible, even when it’s hard and whatever you do, don’t try to understand everything yourself. You’ll drive yourself crazy and won’t be doing them any favors either.

6 Talk with Other Family

Sometimes, it just helps to talk to someone about your struggles, even if those struggles stem from another person, like your family member. Talking with other family about someone who is sick might help both of you be able to deal with things more effectively. And by talking about them, I don’t mean gossip, I mean simply confiding your feelings in one another to work through emotional hardships you might face.

7 Prepare

Lastly, when learning how to cope with someone who has an illness, it’s always best to prepare yourself. Prepare yourself for the worst, and hope for the best, I always say. Also, prepare yourself ahead that you can’t always fix everything, including their illness, and you won’t always do things perfectly. You can also research their illness so you can prepare to care for them the best way possible through their diet, rest, and exercise routines, if any are suggested. Lastly, prepare for their care by starting early and investing in help from others. Doing these things will give you the best emotional support for caring for your family, and for you.

I know many of you might struggle with a sick family member, and if you have any tips for me or anyone else, feel free to share them. Have you ever had to cope with a sick family member?

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