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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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My 63 year old brother is a diabetic. He is very sick and tired

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My 63 year old brother is a diabetic. He is very sick and tired of the fight. What do I do? He is tired of hospitals and being sick. What type of support do I give him?
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It can be very difficult when a loved one has been sick for a long time and there is little doctors can do to restore their health. Although illness is very difficult for the sick person, it is also extremely stressful for the family that offers support and wants to help alleviate the pain of a long term illness.

It is understandable that your brother is tired. He probably has little hope that he will ever feel better and anyone would be resistant to care when all it involves is constant testing and pain as a result. He may not feel that he will ever get better and that can cause a sense of hopelessness and apathy about seeking more care.

That is why your role is vital. Try just being there and asking what you can do is sometimes the best thing. I know that may feel like you are not doing much, but often that is all someone needs when they are struggling to feel better.

You can also suggest that you help your brother get a patient advocate to help him navigate all of his hospital stays and other care. Try contacting your local United Way for agencies that offer this service. The patient advocate can also help you in that they can be sure your brother is getting the best care.

Ask your brother if he is willing to talk with a therapist. Often there is so much attention on a person's physical well being that their emotional health is ignored. So having someone to express his feelings to can make a world of difference in how your brother approaches his illness and how he manages it. Tell him to ask his doctor for a referral or he can search on line at

If you have other family, ask everyone to take turns spending some time with your brother doing something fun. Even if all they can do is sit with him or play a game, it will take his mind off his health and help lift his mood. People who are chronically ill need hope, and just having someone care enough to spend time with him and do things with him can help.

And be sure to care for yourself as well. You are spending more energy and concern on your brother than you may realize and that stress of being a caregiver can take it's toll. Be sure to take a break, spend some time just doing nothing and talk to loved ones about your feelings. It can help lower your stress level so you can be there for your brother.

I hope this has helped you,
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