Supporting partner through an illness

A serious illness can be tough to deal with — for the person with the medical condition as well as for their partner. However, if your partner has a severe illness, you have to find a way to help them get through it. Dealing with a grave medical condition can be a common issue for couples. It can affect your physical and mental health as a caregiver and even derail your relationship

However, you can strengthen your bond while giving your partner the support they need. And, don’t limit this support to showing up for a medical exam. Help them sort through life insurance policies. Talk them through their anxieties or help them find the best clinical psychologist. It’s not easy to be a caregiver, but it’s not impossible. Read on to find out more.  

Don’t become isolated.

Even if you do a great job as a caregiver, you need other social connections. Of course, some things can get in the way. Your partner may feel too unwell to leave the house, develop social anxiety, or have panic attacks. You may feel guilty about continuing any aspect of your usual lifestyle while they are in poor health. However, this cycle of guilt and isolation is unhealthy for you and your partner. 

For one thing, this can lead to mental health issues and resentment. And, it isn’t good for your relationship either. Keep in touch with loved ones through the illness. If your partner feels up to it, ask friends to visit. If not, try video chatting with loved ones regularly. Even trips to the grocery store or a quick dinner at your favorite restaurant may help. 

Help with end-of-life documents.

Your partner should already have life insurance, a will, and power of attorney. If they don’t, this is an important step. The anxiety of preparing for an emergency can make it harder to deal with an illness. Planning in advance can help eliminate this stressor for both of you. 

Your loved one can become anxious about things like life insurance policies. Don’t ask them to relax, or tell them they can deal with it after they recover. Instead, help them sort through the complicated maze of life insurance. Some common types of insurance include whole life insurance, term life insurance, and universal life insurance. There’s also variable universal life insurance, permanent insurance, and group life insurance. 

Call an insurance company or check online to see what types of life insurance your partner is eligible to get. Talk through these different types of life insurance. Remember, you can get life insurance even if the policy owner is already unwell. 

Do the research, so your partner does not have to find the best insurance on their own. While a term life insurance policy is a good option, people in poor health may not qualify for this. They may not be able to get a whole life insurance policy, either. It may take a few years for beneficiaries to be eligible for the death benefit. And, the cash value may drop for a shorter-term life policy. 

Don’t trust insurers to make your decision. Instead, search for life insurance companies online. Compare life insurance with iSelectbefore you talk to your partner. Remember to find out about the insurance coverage and premium payments. Using a service like iSelect will help you get the best life insurance rates. 

Communicate with each other.

A lack of communication is never good for a healthy relationship. It is especially important during a serious illness. Ask your partner not to hide their needs. And it would be best if you did the same. There will be days when your partner can do things for themselves. However, on days when they feel too weak or sick, they should not hesitate to ask for help. 

At the same time, a caregiver can be at risk of physical and mental health issues. And, it won’t help your partner much if they feel guilty about contributing to this. It would help if you communicated your needs as well to avoid these issues. 

Get some help.

It can be challenging to care for a sick person on your own — especially for older people in poor health. Don't hesitate to hire professional help. If you’re unable to afford a professional caregiver, reach out to family members. Even simple things like picking up prescriptions or groceries can relieve the burden. This way, you will have more time to give your partner the emotional support they need from you. 

Go to couples therapy.

Remember, mental health issues are a common downside to severe illnesses. Your partner may suffer from low self-esteem and mood disorders. A mental health counselor or psychologist can help address this. A therapist can also help them with treatment like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). They may need individual sessions, but also consider couples therapy. Being a caregiver can ruin your mental health and your relationship

Couples therapy can strengthen a marriage even if it’s not in trouble. According to some of the best psychologists in NYC, therapy should be part of a support system. A good therapist will not try to fix mental health issues in a few sessions. So, it’s essential to find the best therapist to get the most out of a couples therapy session. 

Look for a licensed psychologist together. This way, you can ensure the sessions are a safe space for both of you. You can also try a group therapy session with family members. It can help your partner feel like they have an extensive support system rooting for them.  

Don't be over-involved.

Try to be helpful without nagging your partner. Accompany them to every medical exam. However, don’t get over-involved during the appointment. You may think they’re not getting the right care for their medical condition. However, the medical exam is not the best place to discuss this. 

Remember, doctors have extensive experience. Even if it is out of love, there is a downside to being over-involved. It can feel stifling for your partner. It can also make them feel helpless or more stressed. If you must say something, do so in a subtle way. Make sure your partner feels supported rather than stifled. Support their decisions about medication or mental health care. 

Avoid trying to micro-manage the illness. Focus instead on supporting your partner — it will help strengthen your relationship.

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