Why Is It So Hard To Give And Receive Long-Term Support During Illness And Death?
Have you cared for, or are caring for a family member or loved one struggling with chronic illness?
Have you ever lost someone close to you?
Maybe you’ve known someone who’s experienced one or both of the situations above.
You or someone you know, could be going through something similar right now. In any case, in such trying times support from family and friends means everything.
Emotional Strain during Illness and Bereavement
Even with support from family and friends, the psychological effects of an illness and bereavement are experienced and processed differently for each individual. Research suggests that the anxiety and depression experienced during such stressful times trigger changes in neurochemical release causing physiological changes. These changes affect the person or people under strain causing a wide range of complications from sleep disturbances to loss of appetite. To some degree, these changes are inevitable during the difficult situations and stages throughout life, no matter how much support is received. However, the duration of time a person stays in a place of anxiety and depression can be shorten by providing ongoing support, not just support at the onset.
What really helps in such situations is having people around you who can provide emotional support as well as help with the practical day-to-day tasks, and not just at the beginning, but throughout the healing journey. The tasks include simple things that someone who is ill or grieving might be unable to manage, such as: cooking, cleaning, getting around town, and other such daily tasks that are needed, no matter the situation. People tend to help with these needs when it’s fresh in their minds, but weeks and months later, people forget, they get busy, and/or they may feel uncomfortable bringing up the situation again, especially if the person has cancer or is grieving… But this is usually when people need the most help.
What makes giving and receiving long-term support challenging? Answer: coordination is a hassle! The timing and schedules of those who require support might not always align with those looking to provide it. With our own professional and personal lives, we often don’t have time to set aside. For instance, if someone you’re caring for needs a ride somewhere while you’re in the middle of an important meeting at work, taking them would be next to impossible. You might not have the time to cook for someone or even drop off meals because you need to take your own kids to karate practice, although you know a prepared warm meal would a great help. Or you might be living in another city or state and are unable to make frequent trips to care for them, relying on a neighbor to check on your loved one. And keep in mind caring for someone is not a one-and-done job, to adequately provide the long-term support that they need, you will need to help many times throughout their healing process.
What can be done to help?
Offering the sustainable and practical long-term support is crucial to the health and well-being of those we love. There are some organizations that can help facilitate the process of offering support and our company, KikuPal, is one of them. We offer those looking to help their loved ones an online illness and online grief support platform. Those who want to offer support purchase points which are gifted to those needing the help. These points can then be redeemed for services which include transportation, meal delivery, and house cleaning. These services are offered by trusted, vetted, and insured companies, restaurants, and other professionals registered with KikuPal.
Though giving and receiving support may often be a challenge, there are ways that we can be there for those we love. By not just offering the much needed emotional support, but by also helping with the practical daily tasks and chores that still need to be taken care of. Not just at the onset of the situation, but consistently and in a manner that is practical for both givers and receivers.