While CD or UC can cause symptoms at any time, there might be times when your friend or family member really needs extra support – no matter how long it’s been since their original diagnosis. From an especially bad disease flare-up that might land a patient in the hospital, to treatments not working, living with CD or UC can sometimes be a rollercoaster ride, physically and emotionally.
Whether a situation is embarrassing, exhausting, or just downright painful, having you as a reliable person that your loved ones can depend upon for anything can help ease their stress. This could involve driving them to the doctor’s office or simply being a confidante after an especially tough experience.
Did you know: stressful situations may exacerbate symptoms and in some cases even trigger them. It’s important to remain supportive when your friend or family member needs help with something even if it seems unrelated to their disease. It might be an upcoming move or even an issue at work, so keep in mind that a stressful situation can have more impactful consequences for people living with CD or UC – and offer your help accordingly!
It is also important to not let those you support feel as if they have done something wrong to cause their illness, like eating “bad” foods or being too stressed out. Caregivers should have a good understanding of what might trigger an individual’s symptoms.
Sometimes, patients will want and appreciate your support – such as driving them to doctor appointments or being willing to listen when they talk about their experiences. But at other times, a great friend can help by getting their mind off of their disease, which can feel like it’s taking over their life. Hanging out on the couch, going for a relaxing walk, or doing something that feels “normal” can help someone with IBD feel like a weight has been lifted and that they still have a sense of normalcy in their life.
CCFA offers online and in-person support programs for patients and caregivers alike; go to the IBD Help Center or call 1-888-694-8872 to find what works best.