Caring for a Loved One with Fibromyalgia

Caring for a Loved One with Fibromyalgia

Caring for a Loved One with Fibromyalgia
As a caregiver for someone with fibromyalgia, it's important to have a good understanding of the disorder and what your loved one is going through. Support him or her in following the treatment plan, getting regular checkups and taking any medications the doctor might prescribe.

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    Most people with fibromyalgia are able to take care of themselves. However, the condition can affect young children and the elderly who may require some assistance. As a caregiver for someone with fibromyalgia, it's important to have a good understanding of the disorder and what your loved one is going through. It will also be your responsibility to make sure they follow their treatment plan, get regular check ups and take any medications their doctor might prescribe. Do your best to create a stress free environment and help them stay on a regular sleeping schedule as well. Aside from that, there isn't much you can do but provide love and support.

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    Dealing with fibromyalgia is always a team effort for a couple when one person is living with the condition. You and your partner should be willing to talk openly about your fibromyalgia. You may need to adjust household roles and responsibilities to accommodate your fibromyalgia treatment, and your partner should be willing to discuss these changes and help put them into action. For example, your partner can help you commit to a new sleep schedule or bedtime routine that eases the symptoms of fibromyalgia. The two of you can attend support-group meetings together; these can be beneficial for people with fibromyalgia and their loved ones. Finally, enjoying moderate exercise together, such as an evening walk, and committing to eating healthy meals together are great ways to deal with fibromyalgia as a duo and will lead to healthier lives for both of you.
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    A , Family Medicine, answered

    Fibromyalgia is a chronic (more than 3 months), non-life threatening pain syndrome that can affect many areas of one's life. Typically more common in women, the most common symptoms is diffuse body pain involving muscles and bones ("I hurt all over"), tender or achy muscles, fatigue, stiffness, and poor sleep. While certainly challenging for the affected person, it can be difficult for a friend or family member to see their loved-one suffer and to understand just what is wrong, because often these patients look completely normal from the outside, and their blood tests and X-rays are normal as well. It is important for fibromyalgia patients to remain physically active and to maintain a positive outlook, so loved ones should encourage them in any way possible. Whether it be joining them as they go for a walk, swim, or bike ride, attending support group meetings, accompanying them on a doctor's visit, or just being patient and encouraging them to maintain social interactions, friends and family can play a very helpful role in successful long-term fibromyalgia management.

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    A , Health Education, answered

    Fibromyalgia profoundly affects relationships, marriages, and long-term partnerships. Being in constant pain and disabled can magnify a relationship’s past imperfections or strengthen what was already strong between spouses and partners.

    You and your spouse or partner can ask each other the following questions to understand your evolving needs or how your relationship is changing.

    1. When were we most successful in communicating with each other in the past? How can we use the same methods now to deal with this illness together?
    2. What areas of our lives must we maintain to ensure as much normalcy as possible?
    3. What role changes in our marriage or partnership do we need to make to get through this thing together?
    4. What has this been like for you?
    5. How can we help each other deal with the stress in our lives?
    6. How can I show you that I love you?
    7. How can we still enjoy being together and have fun?
    8. What can I do to help you now and later?
    9. Do we need professional counseling or other help for our marriage?
    10. What old rules do we need to break? What new rules do we need to establish?
    11. What are you afraid to ask me? What are we not talking about that needs to be addressed?

    How you ask your questions is just as important in a close relationship as what you ask each other. Give yourselves permission to ask each other the tough questions that you might have avoided or may not have known to ask otherwise.

    Your attitude and timing are critical to a successful conversation. Plan a time to talk when you are both relaxed. Use the questions in whatever order works best for you or add your own. Take a time-out when needed or if you become upset while talking.