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How to Help a Friend in a Flare Up

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Several amazing friends and family members of chronic illness patients have sent me emails lately asking what are some of the ways they can best help their friend while they are experiencing a flare. First let me say this is touching to see so many people understand when we are in a flare help is often needed and
greatly appreciated, so to reach out and ask what you can do to help is amazing. You’re a great friend and deserve a round of applause.

1. First I’d always say offering mental and physical support if needed. Sometimes just sitting with someone and watching a movie is the best medicine!

2. Offer to make a meal for your loved one. This would be amazing when flaring. The last thing we want to do while in massive pain is cook a meal; sometimes it’s not even physically feasible, so dropping off a pre-cooked meal would be absolutely appreciated and thoroughly useful.

3. If your loved one has children you can offer to take the kids for a few hours to the park etc. Chasing around after toddlers can be difficult while in a flare. This would be extremely helpful. Even just offering to carpool would be a great help!

4. Listen — without judgment — if your friend needs to vent. Sometimes just crying and releasing our frustrations can help tremendously. It can be emotionally draining when dealing with a chronic illness. So just let them know they can always talk to you.

5. Send a card, email, or text just letting your friend know you’re thinking of them. That little encouragement can do wonders for your loved one.

6. When you’re running errands you can ask your loved one if they need anything from the store.

7. You can offer to do a load or two of laundry. Carrying laundry can be impossible during a bad flare. You may ask your friend, “Can I help with any household work today?” This would be amazing!

8. Offer to take your friend to their doctor appointments, and be a listening ear at those appointments. Sometimes your friend may be overwhelmed and not always absorb every tad bit of information. Taking notes for your friend would be amazingly useful.

These are just some example of things you can do for your friend or loved one. One of the best tips I can offer is to ask what you can do to help. Some people like myself are stubborn and don’t like to ask for help, so offering just may be the one thing your friend needs at that moment.

If you’re a friend or loved one reading this because you want to know how to help, from me to you, thank you!

Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: July 16, 2016
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