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Is Someone You Love Chronically Ill? Help Them Over the Holidays

By HERWriter
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Is Someone You Love Chronically Ill? Helping Them at the Holidays Sebastian Gauert/Fotolia

When people who are healthy want to help people who are ill and fragile, it is a wonderful thing. Sometimes, though, a person who has never been chronically ill may need some help in really grasping what the limits might be.

It can be all too easy to mistake what you would want for what your chronically ill loved one might actually want.

For instance, if you are outgoing and energetic, it's easy to forget that she is not so full of energy. A big party or a trip that would energize you may be exhausting for her.

Is your inclination to go big or go home? Is your motto "the more the merrier?" Be sure to give yourself a reality check and tone the volume and intensity down to what is comfortable and enjoyable for her.

Don't feel that you have only done half a job if you are taking her out for only half an hour. If that is her optimum time frame, then you have done well.

Do you long to fill her house with well-wishers? Hold the phone and picture how things will really be, rather than just how you wish they could be.

It's no good for anybody if the guest of honor is wilting in her chair, longing to crawl away to lie down in a dark and quiet room.

Want to help her get some holiday shopping done? Keep it short, keep it simple, and make sure she can bail at any point that she is overwhelmed. Your plans may be thwarted without a chance of being allowed to unfold, but that is not really the point, is it. The point is being a help and not a hindrance to this person you care for.

Would she prefer to hand you a shopping list and curl up in her bed while you hit the stores and stand in line in her place? This may dash your hopes of having a girls' day out but once again, reality must rule the day rather than wishful thinking.

You have a better chance of being able to have a girls' day if she isn't worn out from being battered by crowds. If she's refreshed, maybe after a nap while you are out, you can regale her with stories of your shopping adventures, and both of you will enjoy it more that way.

A get-together with one or two friends may be much better for her than a large gathering.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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