Chronic: Loss of Support Person – Take Action

I recently lost my Mother, my support person and confidant, by her account, my ‘biggest fan’. We are never prepared for a loss, and may erupt in many ways. There are techniques to implement to assist with your coping skills. 

By Cindy Pivacic.


The loss of a family member and support person can impact an individual with a chronic condition. This loss can bring about a range of emotional, physical, and practical challenges that can exacerbate the difficulties already associated with managing a chronic disease.

Emotionally, the loss of a loved one can lead to feelings of grief, sadness, anger, and loneliness. These emotions can intensify for someone with a chronic condition as they may have relied heavily on their family member or support person for emotional support, understanding, and encouragement. The absence of this support system can leave them feeling vulnerable and overwhelmed, potentially triggering increased stress and anxiety, which can negatively impact their overall well-being and ability to cope with their chronic condition.

Losing a family member or support person can disrupt the practical aspects of managing a chronic condition. They may have played a crucial role in assisting with daily activities, medication management, attending medical appointments, or providing transportation. The absence of this assistance can create added burdens and challenges, making it harder for the individual to maintain their health regimen effectively.

Furthermore, the loss can also result in a significant lifestyle change, as the individual may need to adjust to new responsibilities and roles. This transition can be particularly challenging for someone with a chronic condition, as they may already have limited energy, physical limitations, or pain associated with their illness.

Positive Actions: After the loss of a family support person, it is essential to implement strategies that can help cope with the situation:

Seek emotional support: Reach out to friends, relatives, or support groups to share your feelings and find solace in their understanding and empathy.

Prioritise self-care: Take care of your physical and mental well-being through activities, inclusive of exercise, meditation, proper nutrition, and sufficient rest.

Establish a new support network: Build connections with healthcare professionals, counsellors, or therapists who can provide guidance and support tailored to your needs.

Delegate tasks: Identify and delegate tasks that were previously handled by the support person to other family members, friends, or professionals to ease the practical burdens.

Explore grief counselling: Consider seeking professional help through grief counselling or therapy to process your emotions and find healthy ways to cope with the loss.

Remember that every grief journey is unique. Give yourself time and space to heal while gradually adapting to the new circumstances.

Generally, the loss of a family member and support person can impact an individual living with a chronic condition, affecting them emotionally, practically, and overall ability to manage their health effectively. It is crucial for these individuals to seek additional support from friends, healthcare professionals, and support groups to help navigate through the grieving process and adapt to the new circumstances.

A chronic condition can affect anyone. How you manage it is what makes the difference.

You can get cover of up to 3 million rand for your chronic health condition and up to 10 million if you are living with HIV.

SMS CHRONIC to 33857 to find out more. 

I did!

Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure, and is not a substitute for professional consultation with a health professional.


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