5 Ways To Help A Loved One With Lupus
Last updated: February 2023
When a family member or a friend gets diagnosed with lupus it may be hard to know how to react or what to do. I know when I got diagnosed it was a weird transition with my family and friends. I wanted them to know that because of lupus diagnosis there would be some lifestyle changes but I was basically the same person. They didn’t have to walk around eggshells with me or try to provide sympathy or pity.
Here are 5 things you can do to help a loved one who has been diagnosed with lupus:
1. Help them out with their chores
A lot of the time, we are really tired. It's another level of fatigue. So we tend to pile tasks and our to do list, and it keeps growing because we don’t have the energy to get them done. If one task can be taken care of that would help tremendously. It could be simple as washing the dishes, folding clothes or even picking up their medications from the pharmacy. Any amount of help is always welcomed.
2. Ask them how they are "really" feeling?
Sometimes we hide our pain or how tired we are and put on a facade so we don't feel like we are worrying our loved ones. That too gets tiring because we have to pretend and put on a show. Let them know that it's ok for us to be our true self and that you are there for them. If they want to vent let them know that its ok and they can express themselves freely. If they need peace and quiet and need to nap its ok and you can always hang out another time.
3. Include them in your plans
Just because we have a lupus diagnosis it doesn't mean it's the end of the world for us. We still want to enjoy life and have fun. So, please include in your plans. Don’t just assume we don’t want to go because of XYZ reason. Yes sometimes we will be too tired or in pain. But at least we can say thank you for including us but I cannot go this time. We want to be the one to make that choice of whether to go or not.
4. Ask them if they have any food allergies or foods they can't have
With a new diagnosis our diet tends to change depending on the severity of our disease. There is no one size fit diet for lupus patients but alot of us do make adjustments to ensure that our inflammation is down. We all have different triggers for our lupus. So before you invite them out for lunch or bring over food ensure that's it's something that they can eat.
5. Research their illness
It can get tiring trying to explain what lupus is every time you meet someone. If you research their illness it shows that you are trying to understand their diagnosis and the symptoms that lupus patients have to go through. Try to learn their lingo : know what a rheumatologist does, what inflammation means, what having enough spoons means, etc. There is so much to learn about lupus and once you have that understanding you will be able to connect with them much more.
There are many different ways to show support and care for a loved one with a lupus diagnosis. In the end it really comes down to just being compassionate and empathetic. We all don’t want lupus to define us. But, we do need a different level of support and care now.
How do you help your loved ones?
How are you most likely to respond when someone offers you unsolicited advice about your lupus?