Acompañar a una persona enferma


At the intersection of social health and daily coexistence, chronic diseases and illnesses are a reality that should not be overlooked, since they affect the individual and the people around him or her, generating challenges in all aspects of life: emotional, social, economic, etc. In this article, we will focus on living with a sick person.

The moment of diagnosis not only marks an interruption in the patient’s life but also demands an adaptation to new lifestyles and faces complex emotions, such as mourning the loss of health. This process not only implies a physical but also a psychological and social burden, influencing the daily dynamics of living together.

In everyday life, the reality is that we live with illness. Whether physical or mental, it not only affects the individual directly involved but also has repercussions on his or her closest circle. Even in the course of life, it is very likely that at some point we will have to assume the role of caring for a loved one who is ill (or perhaps it has already happened to you).

Disease, in its most basic essence, is a state of imbalance that affects a person’s physical or mental health. It does not discriminate against age, gender, or social status, therefore, no one is exempt from suffering from a chronic disease at some point in life. From a broad perspective, we must recognize that mental illness, such as depression, is equally relevant in this context. Mental health is as crucial as physical health, and its impact on living together should not be underestimated.

From this inclusive perspective, it is imperative to address how to accompany and coexist with those who face this challenge, promoting an environment of mutual support and understanding.


Understanding is the basis of any empathic relationship. Before attempting to provide support, it is essential to take the time to understand the specific situation of the ill person. This involves active listening, being informed about the disease in question, and being willing to empathize with their experiences and emotions.

Both the patient and the person or persons living with him/her must know what is happening, what disorder he/she is suffering from, his/her limitations, and what he/she can do to help control the disease. Lack of knowledge can generate doubts, fears, shame, and despair, negatively affecting the evolution of the disease. If the person understands his situation and his responsibility in the care of his health, he is more likely to follow medical advice and treatments with greater responsibility.


Adaptation to an illness is not an instantaneous process. For both the sick person and his or her environment, it is crucial to allow time to assimilate the changes and find new ways of living together. Patience and flexibility are fundamental virtues on this road to acceptance and adaptation.

Living with a sick person can present several challenges. It is important to recognize these difficulties to deal with them effectively and constructively, from the lack of understanding by others to the emotional and logistical burden of caregiving.


1. Compassionate acceptance

It is crucial to accept the present reality, even when our loved ones experience significant physical deterioration. Although words and displays of affection may be limited, loving devotion and emotional closeness have a positive impact. Compassion allows us to be present in a meaningful way to those who are suffering.

2. Listen without judging

Instead of offering soothing words, allow the affected person to express themselves freely. Adopt a posture of empathy and let them express their emotions without interference or judgment. Actively listening and validating their feelings helps to channel grief effectively.

3. Respect your limits

It is essential to be sensitive and respectful when speaking. Before sharing information or impressions, ask permission in a sensitive and considerate manner. Respecting your boundaries and privacy needs helps maintain an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect.

4. Let the sick person express him/herself and respect his/her silence

It is common for a sick person to not fully understand his or her situation, to not accept it, or to feel various emotions such as sadness, anger, fear, or helplessness. It is important to allow them to express all these feelings, offering them a safe space to share emotions. Respect their silence, the space and time needed to process emotions, and allow the natural process of life to take its course without imposing unnecessary interventions.

5. Encourage him to surpass goals

Having obligations, hobbies, and goals will give him/her reasons to see life differently and be motivated. It is essential to encourage the sick person to find a “motor” that will allow him/her to stay active, alive, and focused in his/her recovery process. However, it is important to advise him without pressuring him, respecting his pace and his decisions about when he is ready to take on new challenges.

6. The power of words

Words can have a significant impact on the mood and attitude of a sick person. It is essential to avoid discouraging or blaming phrases, as they can become an obstacle to recovery. Instead, it is important to use words of support, encouragement, and understanding to reinforce their self-esteem and motivation on the road to recovery.


Caring for and/or accompanying someone who is ill can be physically and emotionally draining. It is vital to prioritize self-care to stay healthy and able to provide support sustainably:

  • Set healthy boundaries and learn to say no when necessary.
  • Seek moments of rest and disconnection.
  • Maintain some hobbies and activities that bring you well-being.
  • Delegate. It is important to seek support and not burden yourself with everything.

Living with and accompanying a sick person is a complex process that requires understanding, patience, and empathy. By focusing on cultivating an environment of mutual support and self-care, we can deal with situations more kindly, and effectively and build a stronger relationship. We strengthen coexistence in society when we commit ourselves to care for and support those in need, thus strengthening the fabric of our community.