IBD (General)

5 Ways to Support Someone in Your Life Who Has IBD

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Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), which includes conditions like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, can significantly impact the lives of those affected. If you have a friend, family member, or loved one with IBD, it’s essential to understand the challenges they face and provide them with the necessary support. In this article, we will discuss five practical ways you can support someone in your life who has IBD.

  1. Educate Yourself: The first step in supporting someone with IBD is to educate yourself about the condition. Learn about the symptoms, treatment options, and potential triggers. Understanding the physical and emotional challenges associated with IBD will enable you to empathise with your loved one’s experiences. Research reputable sources, consult medical professionals, and consider joining support groups or online communities dedicated to IBD. By gaining knowledge, you can offer informed support and be a valuable resource for your loved one. Ampersand offers regular community meetups, check out what’s coming up. 
  2. Be a Compassionate Listener: Living with IBD can be emotionally draining, and individuals may face frustrations, fears, and anxieties. One of the most significant ways to support someone with IBD is by being a compassionate and attentive listener. Create a safe space for them to express their thoughts and feelings without judgement. Encourage open communication, and let them know that you are there to listen whenever they need to talk. Sometimes, lending a listening ear can make a world of difference to someone coping with the challenges of IBD.
  3. Offer Practical Support: Practical support can go a long way in helping someone with IBD manage their daily life. Simple acts of assistance, such as helping with household chores, running errands, or cooking meals, can be immensely helpful during flare-ups or when they are feeling fatigued. Additionally, accompanying your loved one to doctor’s appointments or treatment sessions can provide them with comfort and reassurance. By offering practical support, you demonstrate that you are there for them, lightening their burden and fostering a sense of togetherness.
  4. Show Empathy and Understanding: Living with a chronic illness like IBD often means facing unpredictable symptoms, dietary restrictions, and lifestyle adjustments. It is crucial to approach the situation with empathy and understanding. Be patient and supportive, acknowledging that your loved one may need to cancel plans or modify their activities due to their condition. Avoid making insensitive comments or offering unsolicited advice because at times this may not be helpful. Instead, be sensitive to their needs and respect their limitations. Your understanding and acceptance can have a profound positive impact on their well-being and will let them know you are a supportive person in their life.
  5. Advocate for Their Needs: People with IBD often encounter challenges related to accessibility, accommodations, and understanding in various settings, including schools, workplaces, and social events. As a supporter, you can play a crucial role in advocating for their needs. Help them communicate their requirements to relevant parties, whether it’s requesting workplace accommodations or ensuring accessible facilities at social gatherings. By standing up for your loved one, you help create an inclusive and supportive environment that allows them to navigate life with IBD more comfortably!

Supporting someone with IBD requires empathy, understanding, and a willingness to help. Educating yourself about the condition, being a compassionate listener, offering practical support, showing empathy, and advocating for their needs are key ways to provide valuable support. Remember, everyone’s experience with IBD is unique, so it’s important to maintain open lines of communication and adapt your support based on their specific needs. By being there for your loved one with IBD, you can make a positive difference in their life and contribute to their overall well-being. To learn more about how Ampersand Health can support people living with IBD, email sarah@ampersandhealth.co.uk or info@ampersandhealth.co.uk for more information!


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