6 Tips for Any Parent Managing Chronic Disease in Their Children
Caring for a child with a chronic condition can quickly become overwhelming. But, as a parent, know that you’re not alone. In fact, about 10 to 20 million children live with a chronic disease including cancer, asthma, Celiac, diabetes, and epilepsy. Most parents who care for a child with a chronic disease experience anxiety and sometimes even depression.
As a caretaker and a parent, it’s important to stay positive, even during the lowest of lows. Here are 6 tips for best dealing with your family’s new normal.
- Learn As Much As Possible
While your doctor has likely given you an overview of your child’s chronic disease, one of the best things you can do is to learn everything there is to know about your child’s condition. Take time to read medical articles online as well as those printed in medical journals. Read blogs from parents whose children have the same condition. Parents tend to know the ins and outs of their child’s illness, at times more so than doctors, because they live it day in and day out. The more educated you are about your child’s condition, the less anxious you’ll be.
During your research, write down any questions or findings, and bring them to your child’s doctor. If your child is old enough, you may also want to share your findings with them.
- Don’t Neglect Yourself
As the caretaker of a chronically ill child, it’s easy to put your own health on the backburner. The psychological and physical demands of caring for an ill child are huge. While your child will always come first, don’t neglect your own health. As the primary caregiver, you need to remain healthy mentally, physically, and emotionally. To take care of yourself:
- Eat wholesome and healthy foods
- Exercise daily, even if it’s a short walk outside
- Get plenty of quality sleep
- Take time to relax and focus on yourself
Remember, you’re the glue keeping everything together. Not taking care of yourself can have a bad domino effect.
- Find a Support Group
There’s no better feeling than surrounding yourself with people who have been through a journey similar to yours. While there may not be a local support group, chances are you’ll find one that’s online based. Being able to connect with these parents can validate your concerns and worries while also offering insight, tips, and hope. The support and comfort you’ll get from one of these groups will make life a little easier.
- Save Money Where Possible
Taking care of a child with a chronic illness can be quite expensive. From doctor’s appointments to medications to food and supplements, the cost of keeping your child happy and healthy can be overwhelming. There’s nothing worse than adding more stress to the picture by having to worry about finances.
The good news is that there are ways to save money. Always be on the lookout for prescription coupons. Look for deals on vitamins and supplements, and don’t hesitate to shop around. No matter if you’re looking for the best vitamins for memory loss or vitamins to help your child sleep better at night, check various pharmacies and retail stores, including online and brick and mortar.
- Become a Master at Note Taking
As a parent, chances are you’ve developed a solid routine for taking care of your child. You probably know your child’s medical history by heart just as you know which medications need to be given at which times. In the event that someone else needs to take care of your child, be sure that this information is well-documented.
Note Taking is also important in keeping tabs on your child’s condition. If there are any changes in health, such as heightened fatigue or changes in appetite, write them down and share this information with the doctor.
- Stay Focused and Keep Hope
Chronic conditions can be gut-wrenching to deal with, especially when they impact a young innocent child. But, no matter how dreary the situation seems to be, know that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Stay positive and know that healthcare advances are made each day. During those dark days, fall back onto your support group, friends, and family members. Though it may be hard sometimes, stay focused and remain hopeful. There are better days ahead!
Taking care of a child with a chronic disease will be one of the biggest tests of strength that you’ll face. To help you make it through, keep these 6 tips in mind. While the journey may be one big rollercoaster, find solace in the fact that you’re never going through it alone.