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Better Living With Chronic Disease: Tips for Families

Chronic disease affects nearly every household in the country. The CDC notes that six in 10 adults and four in 10 school-aged children in the US have a chronic health condition. These include diseases and conditions such as arthritis, autism, cancer, diabetes, dementia, epilepsy, heart disease, obesity, and severe food allergies. Chronic illness affects the whole family. Not only is it difficult to watch someone you love suffer, chronic disease also disrupts roles and routines at home. How can you overcome these obstacles and maintain a healthy quality of life together? Today, is here with the answers.

Learn About Their Health Condition

Learning about a loved one’s health condition promotes empathy and understanding. It also eases the anxiety that comes with worrying about the unknown. Research your family member’s health condition, attend doctor appointments together and ask how your loved one’s condition affects their life and what you can do to help.

Get Health Insurance

Also, it’s vital that you have health insurance so that you can keep up with appointments and treatment options. If you do not currently have insurance, try to get on a spouse or parent’s policy. If those are not options, research the low-cost program your state adopted as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Each program is different, but they all strive to make healthcare more accessible to more people.

This tip is particularly important for parents. Children can learn to manage many health conditions but it’s a parent’s responsibility to guide and advocate. That includes educating yourself on your child’s condition and learning to navigate the healthcare system. Talk to experts on your child’s condition, join a parent group locally or online, and learn about laws protecting children with medical needs or disabilities. Some parents find educational courses in care coordination, pathophysiology, and other healthcare topics increase confidence in their ability to provide proper care.

Create a Healthy Home Environment

Environment plays a big role in managing chronic disease. Home environments have the potential to contribute to chronic disease or be an enabling environment. If you care for a senior, this could even extend to researching nursing home options so that, if and when the time comes, you are prepared to secure the best possible supportive care for your loved one.

Also learn about things like environmental triggers such as allergens, excess humidity, or cold indoor temperatures could worsen symptoms of certain conditions. Living in a space that is cluttered, damp, and dark can also contribute negatively to mindset.

On the other hand, Delos Living points out that clean homes with natural light, good ventilation, non-toxic materials, and accessible layouts support the health and well-being of residents. Interior design choices further promote a healthy lifestyle. For example, organizing kitchens so that healthy items are readily available, outfitting a home gym, or creating inviting outdoor spaces that encourage exercise.

And if you work from home, don’t neglect a healthy and productive environment to help reduce stress in your office. A couple of ideas include having an efficient filing system to reduce clutter, having good lighting, and replacing outdated equipment with timesaving technology.

Find Ways to Stay Physically Healthy

People managing chronic diseases may need to attend physical therapy sessions. But if that is not part of your care routine, make sure to find realistic and sustainable ways to keep yourself active. Simply walking around your neighborhood can be a great way to boost your mood and keep your muscles engaged. If you live close enough to walk to the store, ask someone to walk with you to pick up groceries or pick up a latte in the morning.

If you’d like to add some home exercise equipment, start by spending a little time getting to know these products. By reading online reviews, you’ll get an idea of what to expect from the product you want to purchase. Does that exercise bike have a bad rating? Then you might want to consider buying something else.

Find Alternative Health Solutions

There are a few solutions for managing chronic pain. Here’s a bulleted list of four safe, alternative treatments for reducing chronic pain:

●       Physical Therapy: Engaging in targeted exercises and therapies under the guidance of a professional can help alleviate chronic pain by improving mobility, strength, and overall function.

●       Biofeedback: This technique uses electronic sensors to monitor body functions such as muscle tension and heart rate, helping patients gain more control over these processes to reduce pain.

●       Acupuncture: An ancient practice involving the insertion of needles into specific points on the body. It is believed to stimulate the nervous system and influence the body’s natural healing processes.

●       You can explore THCA and CBD (Cannabidiol): A non-psychoactive compound derived from the cannabis plant, CBD is used to reduce inflammation and pain without the intoxicating effects of THC.

Foster a Positive Attitude

It’s not easy staying optimistic in the face of chronic disease, but acceptance and self-compassion are important for living well with a chronic health condition. Encourage healthy stress management techniques like deep breathing, guided imagery, and mindfulness, and help your loved one find a counselor to talk to.

Chronic disease will affect your relationship, so communicate openly to prepare for difficulties before they arise. Discuss how you’ll manage shifting responsibilities at home and how your loved one can contribute to the household within their abilities. Prevent isolation and loneliness by planning activities that accommodate your loved one’s health condition.

Don’t confuse toxic positivity with maintaining a positive outlook. Validating the feelings and concerns of a chronically ill family member helps them feel seen and understood. Compassion isn’t dismissing the bad or shutting down negative feelings. Rather, it’s about listening non-judgmentally, celebrating small wins, setting goals, and finding things to look forward to.

Support Your Loved One

If you could help your loved one feel better, do more, and enjoy a higher quality of life, wouldn’t you? While it’s easy to feel helpless in the face of chronic disease, there’s a lot you can do to support the health and well-being of a family member with a chronic health condition, from going back to school to boost your medical knowledge to making sure they have insurance. Use these tips to support your loved one as they navigate life with chronic disease.

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