Emotional Caregiving And AIDS

Dealing with any chronic illness can be emotionally draining. A tremendous amount of support from you and other family and friends will be needed.

You are caring for a person, not just a body; feelings are important, too. Since every person is different, there are no “rules” about what to do or say, but here are some ideas that may help:

  • Keep your loved one involved in his or her care. Don’t do everything or make all decisions. Nobody likes feeling helpless.
  • Do have your loved one help out around the house, if possible. Everybody likes to feel useful.
  • Do include your loved one in the household. Make him or her part of normal talk about books, TV shows, music, and so on. Many people will want to feel involved in the things that are happening around them. But you don’t always have to talk; just watching TV together or sitting and reading in the same room is often comforting. Just being there is enough
  • Talk . Sometimes your loved one may need to talk about AIDS or talk the situation as a way to think out loud. Just like any other serious illness, having AIDS can make a person angry, frustrated, depressed, scared, and lonely. Listening, trying to understand, showing you care, and helping your loved one work through emotions is a big part of home care. A support group of other people with AIDS can also be a good place to discuss. Contact the National Association of People with AIDS for information about support groups in your area. If your loved one wants professional counseling, help him or her get it.
  • A little socializing can be good for everyone. Do invite their friends over to visit.
  • Do touch your loved one. Hug, kiss, pat, or hold hands to show that you care. Some people may not want physical closeness, but if your loved one does, touch is a powerful way of saying that you care.
  • Do get out together. If your loved one is able, attend social events or go shopping, riding, or walking around the block together. Going to the park, yard, or porch to sit in the sun and breath fresh air can provide both of you an emotional lift.

© Copyright FamilyCare America, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Adapted from Caring for Someone with AIDS at Home: A Guide, ACTIS Publication No. D817, United States Department of Health and Human Services, AIDS Clinical Trial Information Service.

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