Life is enriched when you share it with people you care about and enjoy the company of, whether it’s attending a birthday party or going for a walk together.

Many people with chronic illnesses, such as arthritis or diabetes, may struggle during this time due to concerns about losing independence, the ability to participate in activities, or feeling socially isolated as the disease progresses.

When times get tough, here are some reminders to help you deal with them:

keep communication open

Opening up can take a load off your shoulders, even if it feels uncomfortable at first.

Talk openly with family, friends and trusted health professionals about your symptoms, especially if they are new or getting worse.

In addition to talking about your symptoms, also talk about fun things you and your network of friends can do together now and what you hope to do together in the future.

Review how you manage your illness

There’s no big deal when it comes to managing a chronic disease, yet there may be things you and your healthcare provider can do to make your life a little easier.

As your condition changes, re-evaluate what’s working and what’s not, and adjust as needed following your doctor’s advice.

A combination of physical activity, a respiratory rehabilitation program, appropriate medication, and avoidance of irritants and allergens can help maintain independence, as well as reduce flare-ups and hospitalizations.

grow your support system

Your doctor, family, and close friends shouldn’t be your only source of support. Look for groups you can relate to online or through your healthcare team to find people who have the same illness as you.

Finding the right support and management strategies with the help of your family, friends and health care team can make a big difference in your ability to maintain independence and continue to enjoy the activities you love.

-News Canada

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