Some are more acquainted with chronically ill persons than others, but everyone encounters someone in life who is difficult to deal with because of an ill condition. 

Illness varies across a wide spectrum of physical to mental, mild to severe, temporary to chronic, liveable to terminal. 

An ill person, whether a patient, client, friend or relative can spike concern and/or wear on the people whom he/she is involved with out of the magnitude of pain the person experiences. We need to remember they are in pain & require compassion and understanding. If you are experiencing your own pain/stress, it may be unwise for you to be involved with an ill person unless you can supportively model how to deal with pain healthily.

If you are of a sound enough disposition yourself, here is a list of things you can do to help a chronic physically/mentally ill person (From the perspective of an ill patient):


Showing consideration of the person & their condition helps them feel secure & not alone, left to fend for their self.

Life is harder for an ill person when others are inconsiderate of their pain & invalidate them. For a depressed/grieving person, you can make their day by exercising conscientiousness of what they’re undergoing. 

Mail them a thoughtful letter, leave a happy note on their door/mailbox, or send an empowering text message they start their day with. This shows the person you thought enough of them & want them to have a good day. At the same time, if their pain is too much for them & they don’t have a good day, you don’t hold it against them.

Doing Little Things:

It’s hard for chronically ill people to keep up with all the little things in life. Helping out by doing their laundry,  taking out trash, general cleaning, making dinner, mowing their lawn, or driving them to the grocery store can bring them relief in small ways.

Playing an Active Role/Asking Questions:

Being there for the ill person shows them they’re supported. Asking how they feel & exercising non-judgement & openness for them to answer honestly helps them know they’re cared for & they can trust you. Asking to do something specific (Can I help you out with making dinner?) instead of vaguely “Anything I can do?” makes it so they don’t have to overthink if you really can do something for them. It’s easier for them to know what you can do & want to do for them so they know specifically how you can be of help. Also asking them what the most pressing things are that they are having a hard time with can help you understand if you can be of any help with those particularities or know someone who can.


Chronically ill people need reliable supports who can be there to just listen. Sometimes, an ill person can’t hold in the pain & a burst of frustration & difficulty needs vented out. Listening & validating their expression temporarily eases the weight on their shoulders & lets them know it’s okay for them to express themselves & release the pain with someone they can trust. 

Venting is less likely to be misinterpreted in person or through voice over phone. Text message venting is often misconstrued personally & makes life harder for ill people.

Show the person you care about listening in person & over the phone.

Involve Them:

Invite the ill person to dinner, a movie, concert, minigolf, a picnic, something they like or might enjoy & that is fun. Inviting an ill person shows them that they belong & are considered in plans, but most of all that they deserve to have fun.

Don’t leave them hanging or abandon them:

If you make plans with an ill person, try to keep to your word at all costs. Make sure the time you arrange with them is not likely to fall through. You might be the first person in a long time to spend time with the person. Abandoning that commitment may potentially discourage or frustrate them. Keeping the committment encourages that they belong/fit in.

Remind them of their strengths:

Ill people forget their good qualities & strengths under the cloudiness of their pain & circumstances. Remember to point out their strong suits & talents. Complement & encourage them. Tell them what you love about them & what they do. Give them kind suggestions of what they can do better or ways of doing things that might work easier for them.

This list is by no means complete. These are basic things you can take upon yourself to do next time you engage with an ill person. Exercising this criteria can go a long way for improving your part in the ill person’s life to help them improve their wellbeing.


Basics to helping an ill person

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