Acceptance of illness

Acceptance of illness

Many family caregivers refuse to accept the reality of a patient’s schizophrenic condition. They try to keep illness away from them by rejecting all reminders of it, including medical treatments and social supports. Only when catastrophe strikes — a bad fall, sudden confusion, or medical complication and hospitalization — they grudgingly admit that the prson for whom they care has a bad condition for which help is needed.

Caregivers who can accept the course of person’s illness, learn to contend with its many challenges and then enjoy the time they still have left with one another are better able to cope with the future. How can you achieve this level of flexibility and adaptation?


Many caregivers firmly believe that staying continuously positive gives them the best chance of prevent the effects of a care receiver’s illness. They refuse to have more negative thoughts as if they could be potentially harmful. But positivity which is not based on reality is self-delusion. It prevents you and your care receiver from taking necessary steps to face the challenges of caregiving. It may result in short-term happiness but lead to long-term peril.

Similarly, some caregivers believe that expressing negative emotions, such as sadness and worry, can increase the stress and guilt felt by the care receivers and hurt them. But when you are always over-optimistic, then the person you care for often feels prohibited from expressing sadness or anxiety. That makes him feel more alone with his conditions and emotions. It is better for you to share your negative feelings with the carereceiver and consequently draw closer in commiseration.

Despair is defined as the complete absence of hope. But that is not the usual result of acceptance. When you can reflect upon all the ramifications of the person’s condition, you are taking command of caregiving to the best of your abilities. You make decisions based on an awareness of the facts. You meet day-to-day problems by generating solutions that are realistic. That does not lessen hope for living a life of the highest possible quality; it increases it.

Living with acceptance that a person you care fo is declining does not undermine enjoyment about the time spent together, it intensifies it. There is something about having an awareness of the carereceiver’s vulnerability that will concentrate your mind and make time more precious. We do our best with eyes fully open for as long as we can. Afterwards, we cherish them and all we did to help them.