Support Tips for Loved Ones with Psoriatic Arthritis
Because people are often so vastly different in their experience of psoriatic arthritis, it is sometimes difficult to know the best ways to support loved ones with psoriatic arthritis. What should you say? What should you do? And equally important, what shouldn’t you do? I hope you are able to get some ideas from my favorite support tips for loved ones.
Support tips for loved ones with psoriatic arthritis
Showing someone with psoriatic arthritis that you care isn’t that different from showing almost anyone that you care about them. Everyone has their own unique “love language” and it is important that you figure out what that is so that you can do your best to show those with PsA how much you care for and support them.
How can you best show your support?
Think about what makes you feel loved and cared for. Is it words? Perhaps it is small gifts or thoughtful actions? What makes you feel loved and supported isn’t necessarily the same for everyone, especially those of us with PsA. Living with this disease changes us in many ways and how we feel loved and supported could really be one of them.
The ways we show support for a loved one with psoriatic arthritis breaks down into 3 main categories: words, actions, and gifts.
Support with words
Having conversations with my family about what I’m experiencing is very important to me. My husband takes the time to ask, nearly every day, how I’m doing that day--and I’m pretty sure he actually listens to my answers. You should do your best to remind your loved one with psoriatic arthritis that you care about them, that they aren’t alone, and that their voice is being heard.
A simple text or a quick call can make such a difference in our mental health, especially on a difficult day. Simply saying the words out loud, “I’m having a hard day,” and hearing that we aren’t alone is an amazing way to support your loved one with psoriatic arthritis.
Support with actions
I’ve always subscribed to the whole “actions speak louder than words” philosophy and often, a little help and support is just the thing we need. But most importantly, it is about doing things without being asked. Having ice packs available and easy access to the heating pad are easy ways to show your care and support.
Take the time to actually learn about psoriatic arthritis. Read articles. Come along to the doctor’s appointments. Yes, these may seem simple. I get that. But showing a loved one that you care doesn’t necessarily require big, grand gestures.
Support with psoriatic arthritis-friendly gifts
Some people feel cared about when you take the time to choose a small, but thoughtful psoriatic arthritis-friendly gift or card to show your support. Journals, ice packs, and even simple-to-make meals can really help someone with psoriatic arthritis simply manage the daily challenges of life.
I’ve always been one to hesitate getting myself little things around the house that would make my daily life easier. But others have given me things like bottle and jar openers and special types of cups for my beloved coffee and tea. Little items and cards pack a big thoughtful punch if you want to show support for a loved one with PsA.
What shouldn’t you do to show your support?
It is often our initial reaction to try and make helpful “suggestions” to show our support and love. But usually, these suggestions come off more as presumptuous and even a little condescending than helpful.
Think about it from the perspective if you were the one with chronic health conditions. Would you not already do everything in your power to research and try different things to conquer your illness? Yes. Of course you would. Therefore, offering helpful suggestions then implies to us that we are NOT doing all that we “could be” doing to manage our psoriatic arthritis. We try. We research and we hope the next big thing will work.
I know these suggestions come from a place of love and a desire to support your loved one with psoriatic arthritis. But really, the best way to show your support is to simply acknowledge that there is no way for you to possibly understand but you will do everything in your power to support them anyway.
Read on for some resources for supporting a loved one with psoriatic arthritis.
Do you have a sleep disorder (eg. insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS) in addition to your PsA?