Accepting a Chronic Illness Diagnosis Is Not Giving Up

Accepting a Chronic Illness Diagnosis Is Not Giving Up

In Isaac Asimov’s opinion, “The easiest way to solve a problem is to deny it exists.” It is a common belief for lots of family caregivers when their loved one is diagnosed with a chronic condition, such as dementia. Even though this might instill some level of comfort in assuming that life can go forward as it always has, if only we refuse to acknowledge this new reality, the truth, needless to say, is that acknowledgement is essential to obtaining necessary support.


It’s understandable for family members to wish to accomplish everything possible independently to provide the care that a senior needs. Nonetheless, often at the crux of denial are thoughts of guilt, helplessness, and in some cases, incompetence in the ability to “fix things.” But you will find important benefits to be obtained – both for the individual and for his or her family members – by facing the situation head-on, like the chance to savor time together, and to uncover effective ways to take care of any issues being encountered now or once the condition progresses.


Here are some practical issues to consider for families struggling to come to grips with a chronic illness diagnosis:


  • It’s possible to be TOO positive. Sustaining an upbeat disposition is wonderful, but can actually be harmful if not tempered with a dose of reality. In many cases, individuals with a chronic disease find relief in speaking openly and honestly as to what they’re facing, and acceptance is vital to offering opportunities for such discussions.
  • Acceptance is not giving up. Instead, acknowledging your loved one’s condition opens the door to learning successful strategies to control the illness, and to locating the supportive services that will enable the greatest possible quality of life.
  • Treasure the time you have together with your senior loved one. Letting go of denial helps you shift your focus to establishing a brand new normal. There’s something freeing about eliminating the elephant in the room, permitting an unencumbered closeness with your family member.
  • Allow others to help. Confronting a difficult diagnosis in a senior loved one can be a challenging undertaking, and it’s important for family caregivers to ensure plenty of time is available on a consistent, regular basis for self-care. Accept any help offered by family, friends, your religious organization, etc., or reach out to a skilled home care agency like Amy’s Helping Hands. Keep in mind that you are able to provide the very best care for your loved one when you are in good health, physically and emotionally, and accepting assistance to reduce your care responsibilities can help. 


Finding a reliable care partner is key. Amy’s Helping Hands, the Windsor-Essex elder care experts, can assist with many of the more mundane aspects of care, so you can spend higher quality time with the older adult you love. Contact us at 519.915.4370 for an in-home consultation and for additional information.