Chronic Pain / Illness
How to Support Someone with a Chronic Illness


The Importance of being there for those you care about.

Image courtesy of Its Time Texas

When is something defined as a chronic illness? The National Cancer Institute  defines it as a disease that lasts three months or longer and may worsen over time. 

Most Common Chronic Illnesses:

  • Cancer
  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis


Chronic illness redefines “normal" for everyone affected. Let’s get into different ways you can support a friend or a loved one living with a chronic illness.

How to Support Someone with a Chronic Illness

Tips on being there through the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

When going through hard times, community support can make the biggest difference between a successful and difficult journey.

Ways we recommend showing your support to someone suffering from a chronic illness:

Show compassion and empathy.

Now, this is a tip that seems like it should be given to most people, and yet it is one of the first things you will find listed anywhere when it comes to supporting an individual in your life who is living with or suffering from any form of illness. The point is that when you are supporting someone suffering from a chronic illness, you should show compassion and empathy not only through actions but also through words. 


When discussing chronic illness, research allows better understanding and respect for boundaries. “Be aware of your audience" means avoiding potential harm in your words. Take time to educate yourself about your friend or loved one’s condition to know what to say and when. Being considerate helps maintain a supportive and caring environment for those with chronic illnesses.


Create a Meal Train.

For this particular form of support, we recommend that you gather a group of people and create a meal support sign up. This allows you and the people you gathered to sign up for different days or weeks to bring your friend food. Having a support system such as a meal train set up can make a world of difference. 

Individuals with chronic illness need not worry about meals; a meal train relieves families from the stress of meal prep. When creating a meal train, opt for easy-to-prepare options. Facilitate gift cards, fundraising, and in-person assistance too.

Use Give InKind’s platform to support individuals with chronic illnesses. Create a personalized InKind Page with information and updates. Request meals and various support types through the Care Calendar and Wishlist. Integrate fundraising options for direct financial assistance. Supporters can easily sign up and help.


hot spaghetti casserole. include in a meal train to support someone with chronic illness
Meal trains can range from hot dishes such as spaghetti to colder dishes such as salads, so make sure whatever is provided can be eaten by the individual it’s going to. Image courtesy of Taste of Home.

Show validation

and reassure your loved one it’s okay not to be okay. Avoid trite expressions like “it could be worse." Be present and supportive to let them know they are not alone.

Lastly, be flexible and allow your loved ones to rest.

Nobody enjoys canceling plans, including those with chronic illness. So if your friend changes or cancels due to their condition, understand their situation. Show flexibility and support their need for rest.

Give InKind is here to help you support someone with chronic illness

In conclusion, supporting a loved one with a chronic illness requires understanding, flexibility, and validation. By offering empathy and being considerate, we can make a significant difference in their journey. Use Give InKind to enhance your support effort.

Give InKind does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We have an affiliate relationship with many of the advertisers on our site, and may receive a commission from any products purchased from links in this article. See Terms & Conditions.

Call for Submissions

Share Your Story

Give InKind offers a platform for anyone to submit their stories, to help and inspire others to get through any of life’s disruptions.