1. Learn As Much About The Disease As You Can
Luckily, there is a great deal of information available online about these conditions. The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America makes free webcasts available regularly to anyone who is interested in learning more about the diseases. You can hear from doctors and specialists about how IBD affects daily living, as well as which medications are most effective. Crohn’s and Colitis Canada offers a list of educational resources as well. I ordered a few used books from Amazon and made it a habit to peruse through them during my morning coffee(s).
2. Cook Food For Them That They Can Still Enjoy
For people with Crohn's, diet is a big deal, since it’s the primary cause of gastrointestinal issues. Health professionals advise people to stay away from inflammatory foods, especially processed or refined grains, fiber-rich foods, and some dairy. Constantly fretting over every single ingredient can be exhausting, though. If you unearth appropriately delicious recipes to whip up for them after they’ve had a long day, they’ll be grateful for your help.
3. Find Ways To Be An Advocate
The more families and friends get involved, the more likely it is that funding will be given to research and treatment programs, giving our folks a greater chance at a cure. Besides, just being part of the conversation is rewarding. Watch some inspirational TED talks in which everyday people speak honestly about living with Crohn’s.
4. Offer Support At The Doctor's Office
It’s also important to help your loved one find the right kind of clinic. More than ever, hospitals are going for a multidisciplinary approach, which means all professionals involved — doctors, nurses, health coaches, etc. — are concerned with the whole person, not just the physical ailments. We made sure we weren't sending my dad to the kind of physicians who simply prescribed one medication after the other without being genuinely interested in his overall well-being.
5. Stay Up-To-Date On The Latest Treatments
Although they are small, there are new studies being done on breakthrough treatments for Crohn’s. Set a daily Google alert to your email inbox, like I did, and share new info with your family member or friend. However, be smart — don’t just agree to any regimen or clinical trial without consulting seasoned professionals first.
6. Be Patient
It may sound easy to keep your composure, but I found it difficult at first with my dad — his anxiety levels have risen since his diagnosis, making him more likely to snap in ways I’d never seen. Rather than reacting to incidents like this, I found it's more beneficial to remain calm and give them more love than ever before. Remember that they are wrestling with a persistent disease that never gives them a day off. You'd be surprised at how much an extra hug can do.
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