Finding Community Resources When You Live With Chronic Illness
It is so easy to feel alone when battling a chronic illness. Getting out can be impossible some days, and exhausting on others.
Our communities have a great deal of resources available to help people who are homebound, and though they’re not always easy to spot, they are there and ready to help. Here’s a few of my top choices for help, though not an all-inclusive list:
Churches: Many churches offer meals, and many other personal services to members, and some even extend these to non members, because they see charity and taking care of each other as God’s purpose. Even if you don’t regularly attend a service anywhere, checking to see what services are offered is a great start!
A first stop help center: Many communities have an organization or two that provide resources from bill money to lightbulbs for people who have an emergency. This wouldn’t be something to rely on regularly, but certainly can help in the early stages of being sick and unable to work.
Food banks: Most food banks allow families to come in once a month for a decent supply of food. They tend to offer a variety of food items which can be combined into various meals, and around the holidays some even have bigger food items like ham or turkey.
Counseling centers: Some state or county funded counseling facilities offer money for groceries and utilities for their clients. This is especially important for people living with chronic illness because it can be essential to our mental health to see a counselor regularly. These facilities also sometimes offer a sliding fee scale, so your session cost is directly related to your income. Counseling centers are an especially valuable resource, because they also tend to know of more community resources to help in a tough situation.
Meals on Wheels: This is a really cool service for folks who are homebound, and offers the opportunity to have a hot meal without the added stress of cooking.
Grocery delivery: Some communities and websites offer grocery delivery services so you can order your groceries and have them delivered. For many of us, a trip to the grocery store will use up every spoon we have, so this can be a huge benefit. It may not be free, but it is still a great help.
Senior or public transportation: Some areas have transportation available via senior centers or other public transportation for helping people get to the store, meetings and doctors’ appointments. Sometimes it’s free, sometimes there’s a small fee, but for those of us who cannot drive, it keeps us connected and able to leave the house.
It is so easy to feel like we are isolated and alone when we are diagnosed with one or more illnesses which significantly impact our ability to participate in daily life. Finding what resources are available in your community is important. Not only will you find mobility a bit more manageable, but sometimes the relief from stress for a few days or weeks is more valuable than anything else.
Be grateful for the charitable nature of those around you, give back how you can, but don’t feel guilty needing assistance. That’s what it’s there for!
Getty image by Artisteer.