By Amy Walters, PhD, Licensed Psychologist
If you missed last month’s webinar on Psychosocial Factors Affecting Children and Families Living with Chronic Illness, the recording is now available! In addition, below is a handout to accompany the presentation.
How Does Chronic Disease Impact the Family?
Worry – the child’s health, financial impact, long-term complications, other family member’s needs
Stress – extra demands, ever changing
Changes in lifestyle – eating habits, routine, exercise
Time and energy – for disease-management, planning and preparation, doctors appointments
Increased responsibility – childcare, school, vacations, activities
Competing demands – “the juggling act,” siblings, work, social, financial
Relationship conflict – parent/child, siblings, marriage
Psychological functioning – people with chronic disease and caregivers have higher rates of depression
Top 10 Ways Family Members can be Supportive
Be informed – educate yourself about the disease, your interest shows you care
Participate – in education and appointments
Communicate – talk about your feelings, concerns and desire to help
Act as if – adopt the same lifestyle changes
Ask, don’t tell – offer your support and ask how you can help
Person first – disease is one aspect of your loved one’s life, but shouldn’t define them as a person
Follow the leader – let the family member set the pace and determine areas for change
Be a cheerleader, not a policeman – offer support, encouragement and a positive attitude
Be patient – Expect ups and downs. It is normal for adherence and motivation to wax and wane.
Take care of yourself – caregivers report higher rates of stress, fatigue and depression. It is important to practice good self care and have a good support system.