5 Ways To Support Someone With Chronic Illness

Chronic illness can take many forms, not just cancer. It could be a 16 year old with no definite diagnosis after 9 months of illness and having been hospitalized, on a feeding tube and still going to specialists, a 48-year-old woman who had a stroke while going for a swim training for a triathlon, a 73-year-old grandmother who dislocated both shoulders while dogsledding finding herself completely at the mercy of others for her care in an instant. Often there is a rush of help at the onset of “the news,” and then it tapers before long.

People may not realize how much help may still be needed or may be uncomfortable asking about helping. Communication can be difficult to coordinate. The affected person may be too tired or unable to ask for assistance.

It’s important to realize that the person who is ill or injured is not the only one affected. Anyone they live with is also impacted.

Here are five ways you can offer support:

1. Ask for any specific needs.

This might be difficult for some people to answer. Try not to push if someone doesn’t have an answer. Ask again in another week or two, and then keep asking (gently.)

2. Offer to go grocery shopping.

Everyone needs to eat and this is a task that can be exhausting. The alternative of eating out can be costly and unhealthy.

3. Offer to provide a meal plan.

If you have nutritional training, you could plan meals to support the health of your friend taking into account their nutritional needs.

4. Offer to prepare several meals.

After a day at the hospital for appointments or treatments, coming home to a prepared meal would be a treat. For someone who is incapacitated, any prepared meal would be a blessing.

5. Send a note or call regularly.

A few words can do wonders to lift spirits. Recognizing others makes them feel special and loved. In today’s society, we have e-mail, texting, tweets, mail, phones, Facebook and more as means to reach out and let someone know we are thinking about them and wishing them well.

Even if you only pick one of these suggestions, it will make a positive impact in someone’s life. It will make a difference in yours also. There’s a quote from Buddha that I think sums it up well: “Happiness never decreases by being shared.”

Make-and-Take Recipe Idea

A great recipe to make to take to someone is Cinnamon Chia Pudding. It’s a great comfort food, super yummy and accommodates most dietary restrictions. It has an amazing cinnamon and vanilla scent that is very aromatic. The type of non-dairy milk you use will affect the creaminess, so if you want it to be really creamy, try a full-fat coconut or cashew milk. The syrup can be increased if additional sweetness is desired. This can be a breakfast, snack or dessert. The chia seed has amazing health benefits, most notably omega-3s and fibre.

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Cinnamon Chia Pudding

  • Total Time: 4 hours 5 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x


  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (nut or coconut)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup


  1. Mix all ingredients together and evenly portion into 4 small containers
  2. Cover and refrigerate until ready to eat (minimum of 4 hours required to set)
  3. Pull out and top with berries, fruits, nuts, seeds, etc. as desired.
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Category: Breakfast


What are some of your favourite ways to let sick loved ones know you’re thinking about them?

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7 responses to “5 Ways To Support Someone With Chronic Illness

  1. Terri Ingraham | Sugar Free Gl @sugarfreeglow

    Great tips! When I was really sick we had some women from our church cook us a few meals and it was such a gift!

    1. Theresa Diulus @tadiulus

      Terri, your church support sounds amazing! Meals made and given with love add an extra dose of healing, wouldn’t you agree?

      1. bob

        I think anything given in love adds to the healing, whether that’s time, prayer, food, a phone call or whatever!

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  4. Carla Simons

    Personally I have suffered with 5 Autoimmune conditions for around 30 years and in my experience, when dealing with massive challenges from mobility to the extreme “organ failure”, any act of kindness is a huge blessing, from a phone call, to a visit, to assisting with children, shopping, meals etc. Caring for someone in need never goes unnoticed and I can assure you from personal experience is always much appreciated by the individual needing assistance.

  5. Theresa Diulus

    Thank you for sharing this, Carla! These are helpful suggestions. Sorry to hear that you’ve had to experience so many challenges with your autoimmune conditions. Hope you’re surrounded with great support since it sounds as though you know how to demonstrate it well yourself :)

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