Why is having a support system important?

Caring for a loved one who is ill is often challenging, but you should not try to take on being a caregiver independently. By identifying people in your life who can be reliable sources of support and comfort, you can be reassured that there is someone to turn to when you need help—someone who will lift you up and give you whatever you need with a moment’s notice.

Support systems will be different for each person. Look at the people in your life who might be a source of support and ask them if they mind being a shoulder to lean on.

Support systems: Who they are and how to utilize them

  • Family members - A diagnosis of lupus affects the whole family; you may find that cousins, aunts, uncles, and siblings will empathize and naturally step into the role of supporter.
  • Neighbors - People in your neighborhood often can provide a home-cooked meal during a particularly stressful time, or they can simply be a source of comfort that is always close by.
  • Co-workers - The people you work with can help by being understanding about your situation. You may need to telecommute, take a leave of absence, or use flex time which will require cooperation and support of your colleagues.
  • Lupus support groups - People in this network have the benefit of having knowledge about lupus and can offer you strategies and suggestions based on their personal experience.
  • The healthcare team - Your providers, technicians, receptionists, social workers, and other staff can be a support system to engage throughout the care of your loved one. At times of need they have a better understanding of what you are going through and can be supportive and instrumental in your loved ones care.

Above all, allow your support system to help you in any way they can. Knowing there are people who are there for you can make all the difference.

Medically reviewed on August 15, 2013

This article was published by the Lupus Foundation of America Office.