Council on Aging Answers 2017 - 37

COUNCIL ON AGING - SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

n
n

During An Emergency
n Be their advocate: If your friend needs emergency
attention, or is in a hospital situation and there is
no one to be the advocate, then that is your role. Be
the buffer who keeps too much activity at bay. Be
the gofer who makes sure that the pitcher of water
still contains ice or that a personal item is within
reach. Be the person who fetches the nurse when
pain seems to be getting out of control or when an
adjustment that you can't help
with needs to be made.
n Help them manage their
affairs: Help keep tabs on
decision making and paper
work if you are in a legal
position to do so. If you aren't
legally able to do this, contact
the person who your friend
has designated. Be a gobetween until the designated
person is available.
n Just be there for them: Be the
person that your friend can
count on when the going gets
rough. That often means just
being present. You can sit and
read or use your smart phone
while your friend sleeps.
Your presence will still be
appreciated.
Be careful not to make your friend's illness the focus
of your friendship. Yes, your friend has additional
challenges in life, but the disease and your friend are
not one. You are friends because of what you have in
common. Highlight the similarities, not the differences.
Be understanding and willing to go the extra mile when
needed, but don't forget that your friend is first and
foremost a person whom you enjoy-perhaps even love.
It bears repeating that chronic illness is just one
aspect of your friendship. Compassion is important but
so is respect. By keeping chronic illness in the proper
perspective, the friendship can be meaningful to you
both.

Allow your friend to

help you, too: Few of

n

us want to feel that we
are so needy that all
we do is take.

n

n

"The article How to Support a Friend with Chronic
Illness by Carol Bradley was contributed by
AgingCare.com"

Council On Aging - Southern California | 714-479-0107 | www.coasc.org	 Answers Guide 2017

37

HEALTHCARE

n

friend turns down your invitations to go out.
You aren't being shunned. Chronic illness takes
management and self-care. Part of that self-care is
saying no even to the best of friends.
Don't make them play host: When you visit, bring
snacks so that your friend doesn't feel compelled to
play host.
Know when to leave: Sometimes a short visit is
welcome but a long visit is wearing. Other times a
long, close visit is welcome.
Ask your friend what he
or she needs: If you keep
communication open and
don't act hurt or rejected
when your friend turns down
an invitation, your friend
should be willing to be honest
about his or her needs.
Learn when their pain or
depression will likely be the
worst: Is an afternoon visit
more welcomed by someone
who has physical pain and
needs time to get ready in the
morning and time to wind
down at night? Is an evening
visit better for your friend who has major depression?
Don't let your friend's disease define who he or she is:
If your friend has diabetes, she is still a person. She's
a person who happens to have diabetes. If your friend
has bipolar disorder then he is a person with bipolar
issues that need tending to, but he is still a person
with a unique personality and talents that reach far
beyond his disease. Recognize the disease. Allow for
special needs attached to the disease. But treat you
friend as a whole person.
Allow your friend to help you, too: Few of us want
to feel that we are so needy that all we do is take.
Make an effort to know when your friend is best
able to do something to assist you and then ask for
help. Obviously, you wouldn't ask your friend with
rheumatoid arthritis to help you move but you
could ask him to do some phone work for you. You
wouldn't ask your friend with an anxiety disorder
to run your next charity event, but you can ask her
if she could list people that she knows who could
be donors to your cause or help with your email
campaign.


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Council on Aging Answers 2017

Contents
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - Intro
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - Cover1
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - Cover2
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - 1
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - Contents
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - 3
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Council on Aging Answers 2017 - Cover3
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