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What to Do When Someone You Love is Very Sick

What to do when someone you love is very sick, love
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It can be very hard to know what to do when someone you love is very sick. I hope this article can be helpful to you if you are dealing with this difficult time in the lives of your family. Here are some ways you can show your love.

Once appropriate medical care has begun, the next step is to determine just exactly what to do when someone you love is very sick. This may be confusing and immobilizing. Overwhelmed by grief ourselves, we may feel inadequate in comforting the patient. How do we handle their pain when we are distraught with worry and sorrow? It can be very hard to know what to do when someone you love is very sick

Let’s break this down into two divisions: 

  • When you are the person most closely identified with the patient and the first-line caretaker, and 
  • When you are the support person’s support. 

10 Ways to Help Your Very Sick Loved One

1. Connect with him

Take notes, ask questions of the doctors, do research, and contact others – all the while staying near and letting the patient know that he will never be alone. You may crumble and feel helpless, but be there, touch him, and assure him you will walk with him every step through treatment and rehabilitation.

2. Listen

Speak only when your words are better than silence. As difficult as it may be for you, it is helpful to let the ailing person express his fears. Your beloved patient needs encouragement and understanding. At the same time, if you remain in denial, the patient has no one with whom to vent. See that his minister, the hospital chaplain, or a counselor is available for your loved one to be able to dump feelings and fears that he/she may try shielding from you. 

3. Walk with your loved one as his fear turns to anger or denial.

Encourage him/her to voice the greatest fear, to seek forgiveness from someone, or whatever personal business or responsibilities keep him from being able to rest and fight the malady.

4. Encourage

The need to be an encourager when you are discouraged is a struggle. Remember that your loved one has similar emptiness and anxiety, but without your better physical health. You will find the inner strength you did not know you had, and the strength to solidify the two of you to work together toward recovery. Learn to depend on God for that strength each day, to welcome the presence of the Holy Spirit into your relationship, and praise Jesus for honoring his promise of never leaving us alone.  

5. Always have Hope

Not a false hope, but rather helping your loved one to cling to the hope of improvement if not recovery. Hope combines with belief to give us purpose, joy, and peace. The offer of hope is the greatest gift. It lifts our spirits and restores us. God’s grace offers hope to us, whatever the circumstances. “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27.

6. Remember, it’s really about the person of diminishing health and not you.

This is about your loved one, although your entire life may be affected in every way. Amid a medical crisis, it is best to stay in the present. There will be plenty of time to make long-term plans. There is a tendency to dwell on the what-ifs. Use that energy to focus on the present care and treatment. And for keeping yourself healthy by trying to get rest when you are able. You must try to do that in order to be able to make clear decisions. Accept help. Let friends know that you need them.

7. Pray for and with the person. 

Pray the scriptures that give the assurance that God is ever-present. The hope and assurance in God’s word will sustain the patient as well as yourself. Satan tries to limit your praying because he knows your praying will limit him. 

Never limit your prayer because you think you are sinful or undeserving. We all are.  You are not praying because of who you are – you are praying because of who God is – and His Spirit will give you peace in the turmoil.

It is very difficult to see your spouse or other loved one becoming frailer – especially when he/she is young and was strong just last month. The tendency is to just crumble into a heap of grieving weakness. However, at that time, we are called upon to be a seemingly impossible person – understanding but strong, weeping but carrying the load for two, encouraging without being pollyannish. All of this while being the medical interpreter, the person to decide on second opinions, the central figure in the daily needs and financial outcome for the family; the one to hold things together while lovingly supporting the patient.

8. Let someone help you.

The above load of responsibilities is a heavy burden.  It can be very hard to know what to do when someone you love is very sick. You need to have a strong family member or friend to unload upon. The caretaker needs a strong helper. This person will help you stay centered, will weep with you, let you vent your feelings, and will help you find some physical rest. 

9. Pray and counsel with a pastor or chaplain.

Being a believer does not give immunity from sickness and death, but it does give you access to the power of God the Father and to his power to defend you. As you cast all your cares upon Him, upon the One who cares for you, you will find strength for each day. 

If the patient wants to talk about spiritual things, about dying, about Eternal Hope, and if you do not feel that you are the right person for this, call someone in to speak with him – a believer in Christ, a minister, or a Bible teacher. This is of utmost importance and urgency to someone facing the possibility of imminent death. Or play the video connected to this site – brief and concise sharing the Good News of what God offers us. You can find it here.

Keep the site at your ready for whenever you want to share the wonderful news that God loves us, that He has paid the price for our sins, and now offers us Eternal Life with Him.

10. Accept the responsibility of being available for all medical conferences. 

Another pair of ears are always needed. This provides a door for discussion with someone who knows the same prognosis. The patient is able to vent somewhat because he/she knows that you are up to date.

You may never have a more difficult assignment than going through a serious or life-threatening illness with someone you love dearly. The pain is doubled. The future affects you in every way. Try to stay in the moment. Be current. Be calm. Be attentive. Be patient. Be loving. Be alongside mentally and spiritually. Check and double-check. Pick up the pieces. Be a part of the recovery plans. Be there. It can be very hard to know what to do when someone you love is very sick 

Obviously, this is an impossible position. Accept help from family and friends. Receive daily assurance by writing down scripture on note pads to remind you that you are not alone – that God will never leave you nor your loved one alone.  In your weakness, God is strong. 

This is not an assignment any person desires.  However, the patient will respond to the situation with less trauma and apprehension if there is someone present who loves him, who can be honest with him, and will allow him to vent his fears, anxieties, wishes, and frustrations. 

5 Ways to Help a Friend Who is Dealing with a Very Sick Loved One

Much the same as in the above – the caretaker needs care also:

  • Be available. Listen. Encourage. Pray. Offer hope.
  • Take meals. Run errands. 
  • Help with childcare. Be the backup person on short notice.
  • Mow their yard. Pick up mail. 
  • Do whatever to let them know they are not alone. Organize friends to help. 

The primary caretaker is prone to feel forgotten and overwhelmed. It can be very hard to know what to do when someone you love is very sick. Showing understanding and letting them know you are concerned about them will enable them to better care for the patient. They will find strength through your caring.

Life has many joys. You can read more about finding joy here. Most of us are not spared sorrow and sickness. But life offers many joys and opportunities to love and serve. How do we navigate the bad times?  By placing our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. He will carry our burden. He who said, “Cast your cares upon me, for I care for you.” I Peter 5:7

We invite you to watch the “Great News” video on this page and find out more about God’s love for you and how you can receive forgiveness and eternal life – today!

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