Progressive Illness: A Marathon, not a Sprint

Progressive Long Term Illnesses transform families. Learning how to handle the changes and survive the stress will affect family quality of life.

When someone is diagnosed with a progressive long term illness it affects not only that person but the entire family and in particular the primary caregiver. As the facilitator of a Parkinson’s Support group for both those living with Parkinson’s and their caregivers I believe that communication plays a major part in successfully living with a progressive disease.

First, it is important to have an open dialogue with your spouse. As a caregiver you need to feel free to express your frustration just as the person with disease should be able to vent about the challenges they are facing. Second, communicate with your extended family and friends. So many couples feel a need to internalize the stress of a progressive illness and their friends and family feel like they are intruding if they ask about it. A progressive illness is a marathon not a sprint you will need a strong support system to weather this storm. Finally, find a support group that works for you.

Finding a group of people who are in similar situations as you and your loved one will give you a safe place as well as a wealth of knowledge from those that are experiencing an illness first hand. Nurses & Company offers several different groups including caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients, and Parkinson’s Support Group. Call the office for more details or visit our website

We may grow older every year but age is only a number.
Let’s live fully, laugh a-lot, and continually learn so that together we can
age with grace.

Ann Byrum Ritter, RN


This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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