As a caregiver to my mother, who is living with HIV, I have found that being an emotional support for her in times of need is a crucial aspect of helping maintain her health. Sometimes it may not seem like much to be that shoulder to lean on, but remember, stress can be a huge factor in the state of one’s health. Showing support to the person you are caring for can help relieve those feelings of being overwhelmed and stressed. In the long run, this can help improve their health.
For me, I have found two things to be very important when I think about the type of support I provide my mom. First, being non-judgmental is key. People living with HIV are living everyday with stigma and judgment from our society. Be a safe haven for the person you are caring for. Provide a judgment-free zone where they can freely open up to you .
Second, assist them in reducing stress through interaction with others, through their faith or exercise. Staying up-beat is important. Stress is a number one factor that causes health to go down because that’s when a person wants to give up.
You don’t have to be someone’s only source of support. Part of supporting your friend or family member is by providing them with resources they can use to seek support from others. This is important for the person you care for, as they can gain even more strength from others. This is also important for you as a caregiver. Helping the person you love build a network of support will help you not to get overwhelmed as well.
Check out this blog (Finding Support) where you can read about where one positive woman seeks her support.