How to Cope With a Sick Family Member

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If coping with an under-the-weather, ill or just plain 'blue" family member is giving you the 'blues," here are some strategies you can use to keep your mind, body and spirit healthy.

  • Take a deep breath and make sure your immediately implement the three "C's:" calm, cool and collected. The family member is sick, and at the moment, you're not. Breathe and make sure, no matter what happens, you implement and practice the three c's regularly. If the family member begins to try your patience during the illness period, you'll probably find yourself practicing them more often than you thought.

  • Avoid becoming ill yourself. Sounds simple, eh? This can prove to be more difficult than you think. Some people have a tendency to transition from being sympathetic to the family's member's illness to becoming so empathetic that they, unfortunately become ill themselves. Real or imagined, it can happen, so be aware of this point.. You won't be any good to the family member if you're sick, too.

  • Make sure you understand the prescribed routine for medications, food, rehabilitation and so on for the sick family member. Be sure you understand these instructions to a level that you feel comfortable with administering them or making sure that they get done. Consistent, competent help sometimes can be difficult to find. If taking care of sick people in general is not your forte, recognize this early in the process and enlist the assistance of others so that the ill family member's care is not compromised.

  • Do you best to create light , bright and cheery surroundings. Environment plays a huge role in the rebound process. The better the environment, usually the faster the return to health. No sulking allowed, no dark room or somber music. Use this time to bring out that old Feng Shui book you've been meaning to read and actually use so of the tips in it to brighten up the sick person's environment. It will do wonders for the both of you.

Tips & Warnings

  • While respecting the family's member's downtime, it is important to keep all talk in a positive vain and progressive in nature. Neither of you should dwell on negative ideas or thoughts during this time as it actually may increase increase the duration of an illness. Why take the chance? Listening to negative talk on TV? Turn it off of find something stimulating and informative and totally out of the norm, like one of those exotic food shows. I assure you that you both won't have time to focus on much else unless the family member's illness include queasy stomach symptoms, but you get the general idea here.
  • A caveat to those with a guilt complex; don't let other family members talk you into caring and coping with a sick family member out of obligation, duty, proximity to the family member or perceived level of inconvenience it was cause them to do it versus you. This has to be a conscious choice and decision on your part. The choice, care and whom should be delivering the care to the sick family member should always be decided in deference to what's and/or who would be best for them. Get ready to hear this , but, that, in fact, actually might not be you. This is not a time to be heroic or used as a time to win brownie points with the sick family member, or anyone else for that matter. They need you to be your best for them during this time, or do the best for the and by them during this time. That might include you turning this over to someone else better suited and tempered to cope with the sick family member. Don't feel that you are abandoning the family member, your family or others by doing this. Rest assured, that this decision, though perhaps a tough one, is still being made out of love , by you, in their best interest..

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