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Tips on Caring and Treating a Sick or Disabled Person

Updated on October 5, 2012

Care giving can be a bumpy and windy road

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Tips on caring for the sick and disabled


I have some experience in caring for persons with disabilities. I have had sick family members who I have had to care for, and I have had the opportunity to care for a disabled child. There are a few things I have learned from these experiences or the years. I would like to share some tips on caring for sick or disabled persons. My first experience with caring for a sick family member was a trying experience for me. It is tough work, though rewarding personally and you also have the opportunity to show real care and love for the person you are taking care of. The level of care, patience, love and support you give to the person you are caring for can make a huge difference in their health, well being, and even recovery in some cases.

The first thing you need to do is assess your task with a critical eye, think about what level of care will this person need at this time, and try to look toward the future as best you can so that you can be better prepared as a caregiver. You may be doing this out of love for a family member or friend, or you may be an employee of some sort. Whatever your case, both you and the person who is ill, will benefit if you are prepared. Always keep in mind that you, as their caretaker, need to care for the person as well as the illness. Try to see things through their eyes for a better understanding of them, and their situation. Often times caregivers focus more on the disease than the person, especially when their illness is acute.

Try to see the world through their eyes. They may be in constant discomfort and at times in fear, from their illness. This can make a person feel very irritable and alone. Like all of us, they want to be comforted and understood. Be sure to validate their feelings. It is easy to forget to think of their personal feelings when we are taking care of their physical needs. It is good to share with them their thoughts on world and local events and let them know some things that are happening in your own life, this can take them out of the worries they have about their own illness for a time, when possible. Find something they enjoy talking about and converse with them about it while you are doing you daily tasks. Remember to smile when you see them, a smile is contagious, and you may brighten their life for a moment. Studies show that a person who is happier and feels loved heals faster than a person who is depressed.

Establishing routines

Always keep a structured routine when caring for someone who is ill. They are often going through a lot of stress and if you are able to keep a daily routine, they will be more relaxed. On days that your routine needs adjustment, prepare them ahead of time. On days you need to take them doctor’s visits or errands you should try to prepare as much as you can. Make lunch early, this way there isn’t a rush to leave or make lunch when you return. Always bring extra medicine, water and snacks, in case you are delayed on your trip out of the house. I would always have a bag with snacks, books, water or juice with me when I left the house with them. I always kept a sweater in the car for cool doctors’ offices and extra medicine in case the trip took too long. I would also make sure I had plenty of fuel in my car to avoid having to make an extra stop. It is important to make every trip out of the house as comfortable as possible for both you and the person you are caring for. Adjustments in routines can be extremely draining for people who are dealing with an illness; they are often exhausted by the end of the trip. Be sure they are able to rest comfortably for the rest of the day after an outing. When I am caring for someone, I always try to keep their schedule the same each. I make their bed at the same time each day; feed them at the same time, give them their medicine at the same time, no surprises. Always explain what you are doing and keep them informed and involved in their own care as long as possible.

Remember to take care of yourself

As a caregiver you will need support too. Make sure you have someone to relieve you on a regular basis. Caregivers of terminally ill patients often get sick themselves. It is exhausting work to care for an ill person, and no matter how concerned you are about them you must allow someone else to take over so you can recharge your batteries. Be sure that you are taking care of yourself, eat well, sleep well and exercise daily. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you cannot, successfully care for someone else.


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    • KimberlyLake profile imageAUTHOR

      Kimberly Lake 

      5 years ago from California

      @doodlego thank you for your comment. I understand how difficult it is to care for a loved one who is ill. I lost a family member to cancer as well and suffered along with her as the cancer progressed. I am sorry that you had to to experience that. I hope that my article helps others who are going through this difficult experience. With that being said I am thankful for every moment I spent with her. Take care.

    • doodleglo profile image

      doodleglo 

      5 years ago

      It has been many years since my mother died of a brain tumor, and it still makes me sad to think of how unprepared I was to care for her in her last months of life. Thank you for your article. ~

    • KimberlyLake profile imageAUTHOR

      Kimberly Lake 

      6 years ago from California

      @old albion Thank you for the voted up and the comment. It is difficult to care for a loved one when they are ill. We tend to start treating the illness and not the person. Routines are very important too. Probably the most important practice is letting them know they are understood and loved. We have to make sure we, as caretakers rest too, so we don't get sick ourselves. Take care.

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 

      6 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi kimberly. Your insight is first class and correct. I have great experience of this subject. I also think your efforts providing other links associated to all your hubs is first rate. voted up.

    • etower036 profile image

      etower036 

      6 years ago from Helana

      Thanks for writing this wonderful hub. I take care of my wife, who is a stroke victim. She has a few problems related to it, and it because a bit daunting at times. However, the reward of knowing she is still with me, alive and well, is worth all the work that she needs.

    • KimberlyLake profile imageAUTHOR

      Kimberly Lake 

      6 years ago from California

      @ChristyWrites I hope this hub is helpful to someone who is having to care for a sick loved one or at a new job as caregiver. Thanks for the comment and the vote up.

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This hub will help anyone who is trying to care for someone else. It sounds like it is draining so I am glad you included the part about taking care of yourself which many people find hard to do. I vote up.

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