Caregiving 101: How to Care for a Loved One with HIV

Routinary check up of family or friend

Caring for a loved one with AIDS or HIV comes with extra responsibilities and relentless attention to specific situations that can potentially endanger the life of your loved one. Likewise, in the event that HIV progresses into AIDS, caregiving will become even more challenging.

So before this happens, it’s vital that you have a plan in place to care for your loved one.

Considerations for the Progression of HIV and AIDS

Although HIV or human immunodeficiency virus can progress to AIDS or acquired immune deficiency syndrome, not all people who have HIV will develop AIDS. However, it’s common for those who develop AIDS to experience serious complications and even pass away due to complications of the disease.

That being said, when HIV progresses to AIDS, it is immensely crucial that the person with AIDS has ample support, especially when severe complications arise. Expect your loved one’s physical abilities to decline dramatically.

This is a natural effect of their failing immune systems and is usually accompanied by dementia and chronic weakness. Cancer and potentially fatal infections are also common complications of AIDS as the person’s immune system lose the ability to fight off viruses and bacteria.

As your loved one’s disease advances, he or she will become weaker and will require help with feeding, bathing, toileting, and getting around.

Basic Responsibilities of HIV Caregivers

Your loved one will require many different supports and accommodations, some that will need special and professional help, and some you can give. You can help your loved one by reducing transmission risk, monitoring meds, banning sick people from visiting, and with basic daily tasks.

You must also know how to recognize emergencies related to your loved one’s condition so you can get emergency help when necessary. It’s also very crucial that you make your loved one’s environment as comfortable and as safe as possible.

For example, you might need to modify your home to fit in a wheelchair and take extra precautions to safeguard your loved one if he or she has dementia. Ensure that your loved one can navigate the stairs safely and that the house is free from sharp objects and other potential dangers.

Getting Additional Help and Support

Asking help from health facilities

As your loved one’s primary caregiver, you should plan for his or her end-of-life care as early as possible. Admittedly, this is a tough subject but is also one of the most helpful things you can do for your loved one, especially if his or her condition is expected to progress quickly.

For example, if your loved one only has six months at most to live, consider looking up hospice care services here in Indiana. You also need to discuss end-of-life care arrangements with your loved one’s medical team because they will need to work with the hospice care professionals to figure out the best supports for your loved one.

While it’s difficult to predict how the condition of your loved one will progress, the kind of support you need to give and the complications that will arise, you have to be open for whatever course your caregiving journey will take.

Meanwhile, take the necessary steps to ensure that your loved one is as safe, happy, and comfortable as can be.

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