Posted by: AJ the Irish Lass | September 27, 2019

Do’s and Don’ts When a Loved One Gets a Difficult Diagnosis Part 4: Don’t Make Assumptions About What They Want/Need

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Everyone’s needs are different when dealing with a serious health concern. One thing that is probably true of most people with health issues is a desire to retain as much autonomy as possible. Assuming that everyone dealing with a given issue wants or needs certain types of help can be unhelpful.

Three examples of helps people I have talked to seem to have mixed feelings about:

Support groups can be helpful, for some who have no problems with opening up to others or aren’t bothered by being part of a group united mostly by a health issue. Introverts or private types, or who prefer not to make their condition a part of their identity might not find a support group setting helpful. In some cases, one-on-one care with a mental health professional might be best.

Having in-home support services or even having a family member act as a paid caregiver in states that provide such options can be very useful for someone who has very little ability to care for themselves. However, having a disability or health issue does not necessarily mean someone is completely helpless, and the person living with health issues may not want family members giving up their job for what may be a temporary situation. However well-intentioned, pushing this idea with someone who is not open to it may make it seem as though you don’t respect their ability to choose.

The decision to go on disability (or not) is one that each person needs to make for themselves. Some may prefer staying in the workforce and performing their duties with reasonable limitations. As with support groups and whether to enlist a family member as a paid caregiver, this is a personal decision.

All of these decisions need to be made carefully, and as some would put it, prayerfully. You can show the most support by being behind whatever decisions they ultimately make.

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