How Can I Talk to My Loved One About the Disease?

It may be difficult to know how to support each other at times. Your loved one may not be able to do everything that they want to do. They may have difficulty talking about their feelings. Accept that s/he may feel frustrated by their experience. Communication may be hard in the beginning. It will get easier if everyone is open and honest about their feelings.

 

The differences can cause tension because each person may expect the other to act the way they would in their place. People in caregiving situations often have trouble talking with each other. They often feel stress about:

  • Knowing how to best support each other.

  • Dealing with new feelings.

  • Figuring out how to communicate about the disease.

  • Dealing with guilt.

  • Talking about their negative feelings.

  • Making decisions about care and treatment.

  • Changing roles.

  • Juggling lots of roles, such as childcare, housekeeping, work, and caregiving.

  • Changing their social life.

  • Changing their daily routine.

  • Not feeling connected sexually.

 

Being open and honest about your feelings is important. Try not to hold back to protect your loved one. Encourage them to do the same. S/he may be afraid that they are a burden to you. Encourage them to tell you about their symptoms and concerns so you can help them. Return the favor to them by being open about your concerns. People express their emotions differently:

  • Some talk things out.

  • Some focus on other things.

  • Some express emotions by doing things, such as walking, doing the dishes, or fixing things.

  • And some focus inward.

 

The important thing is to recognize your loved one's method of expressing emotions, even if it is different from yours, and keep communicating.