Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Visiting a Friend with Chronic Illness

Visiting a Friend with Chronic Illness

Here in Minnesota I have been so blessed to have a friend who comes to visit me in my home every week. MaryAnne has been visiting me regularly ever since we moved to Minnesota 2 ½ years ago, and I appreciate it so much. We like to have tea together each week, but we aren’t usually as fancy as you see in the picture above. The fancy occasion was rare and called for a picture! Usually I am lying on the sofa in yoga pants and a t-shirt, without a bit of makeup.

This year I haven’t been able to have tea each week because I have been too low on strength and energy. So we drink ice water instead. Some days I am too tired and brain fogged to do much talking, but MaryAnne doesn’t mind. She comes anyway. She sits and talks with me while I lie down on the sofa, messy hair and all. It is always good to have my friend with me.

Visiting Your Friend

Do you have a friend with a chronic illness? Your friend would probably love to visit with you! Here are some suggestions for how to approach visiting a friend with a chronic illness. First, ask if she is feeling up for it. If she is, then ask what day and time would be best for her. It would also be helpful to ask how long of a visit is good for her. If she is especially sick, then a short visit may be best.

If your friend isn’t up for in-person visits, you can send an occasional email or text message just to let her know that she is in your thoughts and that you care about her. Visiting through email or text messages might be easier for her if she is especially sick. It isn’t the same as an in-person visit, but it will be appreciated. Just knowing that she hasn’t been forgotten will be a blessing and an encouragement.

You can also invite a friend with a chronic illness over to your house. Don’t be afraid to extend an invitation. She can always decline if she knows that she isn’t well enough for an outing. Even if she is very tired, she may enjoy getting out of her house and having a change of scenery for a short time. A different couch and different walls can be a wonderful thing! 

Visiting a friend with a chronic illness doesn’t have to happen only in the home. You can invite your friend to attend a Bible study with you, go out for lunch, go shopping, or go to a movie! Those of us with chronic illnesses enjoy a lot of the same things you do, though it may be harder for us to do them. Ask your friend if there is something you can do to make an outing possible or easier for her.

Here are some things you could offer to do for your friend to help make an outing possible:
  • drive her to the event or activity.
  • arrive early so that she can find the seat that will best accommodate her needs.
  • leave the event early if that would be best for her.
  • push her in a wheelchair if she needs one.
  • let her stay in her seat while you get food, drinks, etc. for her.
  • if she is weak and needs assistance from a walker or wheelchair, offer to help her in and out of the bathroom. Bathroom doors are heavy, and it can be exhausting to try to hold a door open while wheeling through.

Helpful Tip:

If you are trying to decide whether or not to send an invitation for a party to your friend with a chronic illness, always send the invitation! Even if you think she can’t come, sending the invitation lets her know that she is welcome and that you would love to have her there if she is feeling well enough. I have a friend who regularly invites me to a mom’s group that meets once a month. I have never been able to go, but I always appreciate the invitation. It lets me know that I am welcome and that I am wanted.

Let's hear from you!

If you have a chronic illness, what could a friend offer you that would make a visit or an outing easier for you? Are there any other tips regarding visits that you can share with us?

This post is part of the Chronic Illness and Friendship series.

1 comment:

  1. These are wonderful suggestions! Having an illness can be very lonely - it's nice to know that people are thinking of us, even if we can't participate in the event.


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