Support Groups for the Terminally Ill
By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 29 Oct 2020
Finding out that you are terminally ill is a frightening and disheartening experience, and can be quite lonely, as well. Patients are often hesitant to reveal all of their complicated emotions to close friends and family members, who are likely to be going through rough adjustments, too.
Despite the fact that confiding in those closest may be difficult, many terminally ill patients feel the need to express their fears in order to work through them. Participation in support groups can offer outlets for emotion, as well as providing a sense of connectedness to others who are travelling the same road.
Finding a Local Group
Patients interested in locating support groups in their neighbourhoods can begin their search by inquiring at their doctor's office or hospital. Some groups hold meetings in the common areas of hospitals, others in churches or community centres, and in some areas, support groups may even gather in the homes of one or more members.
Support groups are readily available on most large communities, but even small towns may host opportunities for terminally ill patients to gather and offer one another ongoing support and encouragement.
Groups may be of a general variety, with people undergoing treatment for a variety of illnesses in attendance, or may be specific to a certain illness or disorder. Often, those suffering from rare illnesses may have a more difficult time locating local meetings than those who have been diagnosed with more common ailments.
Online Support Groups
Easy access to the internet has made it possible for people from all across the world to "meet" and form bonds, typically by connecting through membership in one of the popular social networking sites. Many of these sites allow members to organise groups, and support groups for all varieties of illness are common.
Often, these online friendships can become quite meaningful, with people growing close by sharing their feelings, hopes, and fears while enjoying the relative anonymity of internet participation.
Supporting One Another
Often, terminally ill patients are the recipients of enormous outpourings of sympathy from friends, coworkers, and loved ones, but as well meaning as this type of attention is, it can be tiresome for those who are doing all that they can to direct at least some of their focus on anything except their illness.
By forming connections with others who are in the same position, terminally ill patients can be free to express all of their emotions, even those that may be taken as an offence from those in their closest circle, and can even take time to explore other aspects of their lives, beyond their illness and treatment.
Being seriously ill can become all-consuming, but those who get involved in support groups may find some relief from their own situation by focusing on the lives of other members.
Coping with terminal illness goes far beyond merely managing symptoms and exploring treatment options. Often, the emotional components of serious illness can be every bit as troublesome as the physical aspects. Illness has the power to change everything about a person's life - from their personal relationships to their financial situation, and sometimes, these changes can in themselves be overwhelming.
The ability to connect with others who truly understand the experiences associated with terminal illness can be an enormous gift to those who are manoeuvring this difficult and confusing time.
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I have two terminal illnesses, neither are cancer. Two doctors told me I would not live past March 2020 but Im still here and kicking. I find it hard to talk to family or friends as they say things like you arent going anywhere or it will be okay. I would like to be able to discuss and let out all the feelings and emotions I have. Looking for a support group that has members like me. I am relatively young at 48. I have a blood disease that causing organ failure and kidney diaease.
Tammy - 29-Oct-20 @ 4:34 AM
Hello I’m trying to find a support group near Orlando I have a terminally ill disease and I was just trying to find some local support support groups something like that thank you and have a great day
Jake - 6-Jul-20 @ 11:21 PM
Hi, I'm a 53 yo married female from North Tx.2 mos ago I was rushing to test for a bilateral lung transplant process. 2 wks ago I was denied due to my rapid decline. I've talked about options prior to this and new it was always a possibility.But, now that things are progressing I feel very alone. Don't get me wrong, my husband and mom are great. But I have become their life. And now I'm virtually homebound so the walls are closing in.I do not have cancer. This is an autoimmune disorder on the Lupus spectrum that has no name. ULD. That is what's killing me. Undifferentiated Lung Disease, with a connective tissue disease that is progressing rapidly now.
I would just like to know how others are dealing with their end time. Thx for letting me share.
Dawncherise - 2-Jan-20 @ 7:34 AM
Husband is 83 with terminal brain cancer. Taking chemo and radiation.But talks all the timewakes me up at 2:00am wanting cookies and coffee.Calling people on his phone. I’m going crazy
Jan - 26-Dec-19 @ 3:01 PM
Hi, I have that stages of terminal cancer and I am.so scared. I have a 5 year old and I dont want to leave him.I would really appreciate making.a friend with someone who is around my age 44..with children in the same.boat as no one understands what I'm going.through. I keep on imagining.my son with another mother and it should be me that brings him up. I'm so.scared..
Katiep - 7-Nov-19 @ 11:28 AM
This is for Nana who has end stage COPD and heart failure and is contemplating palliative care/hospice. I also have the same, along with a few other things, and I have palliative care. I would really like to have an online support buddy that can relate and form a friendship with and commiserate with. Please contact me if you'd like to email and chat to see if we can support one another and help. Thank you for your post. It immediately made me feel not so all alone in my illness. Have a blessed day Nana. You're welcome to email me directly but post here if there is something I have to do for you to obtain my info. Margot
Margot - 17-Oct-19 @ 12:17 PM
Very Ill. Woman needs. Friends. No help.
Sherry kay - 8-Oct-19 @ 11:16 PM
Why is a terminal disease terminal?? It’s because there are no treatment for Basic infections and all disease is caused by infections.I use a product called TRINITYand I don’t have any infections. Why would anyone die of Terminal disease when there’s a single dose cure??? Modern medicine is less than useless it causes the terminal disease that leads to people living the last 20% of their lives in terminal illness. Why rely on this medicine?? There are 500 incurable diseases according to Allopathic medicine- all of these are cureable.
Dave - 9-Aug-19 @ 11:33 AM
I am trying to create a project for people who are terminally ill and their families. It would be amazing if I could speak to people in that position to gain as much knowledge as possible. If anybody is interested in speaking to me I would greatly appreciate your time; please reply to me to discuss further.
Tia M - 3-Jun-19 @ 11:37 AM
@Tank - it's understandable that you feel this way. Lifestyle changes will help you. If you smoke, give up, you can help this through having a healthy diet, exercising regularly and keeping your weight to a healthy level. You can also have regular check-ups at your docs. There is nothing to say you cannot prevent this if you act sensibly by having regular screenng. Your docs may also refer you for some counselling if you feel you need to speak to someone. Sorry to hear your family aren't being supportive. LK
Luke - 11-Jun-18 @ 10:34 AM
I'm 37 years old and 2 years ago I almost died from an Aortic aneurysm that burst and started flooding my left lung, doctors saved me with a 6 inch stent...a year later they found another aneurysm in the lower part of my aorta and from what I've learned there's a 5 year mortality rate with just one. I am so scared to fall asleep and I have no one to talk to about this,my wife doesn't want to talk about it and neither does my family. I'm alone with my suffering
Tank - 10-Jun-18 @ 5:17 AM
Hi I am the mother of a 23 year old chronicly ill 4Th stage kidney dialysis patient and this is the first time i have actually said it. He is a young man that has never given me a moment of trouble but has been a kidney patient sence birth . i did everything right carrying him but yet something happened anyway. I need help
Wonder - 17-Jan-18 @ 2:42 PM
@meg - so sorry to hear this. Bless you. You need to speak to people who are in a similar situation :(
Jules60 - 25-Sep-17 @ 9:53 AM
I'm Megan and I'm 26 married with 3 children. I'm so scared, I don't want to leave my children behind.
meg - 24-Sep-17 @ 2:36 AM
I am a 66 year old male , in Vancouver BC < Have IPFand just told that I haveStenosis of my Aortic Valve , In the last three years I have had quadby pass , divorced after 25 years , waspensioned off after 40 years and live on my own chopper - 29-May-17 @ 11:25 PM