Relatives and friends

If you are a relative or friend of a person with psoriasis, your role matters!

Living with a chronic disease like psoriasis can be challenging. Research shows that a good support network with strong social and psychological assistance can improve self-care and quality of life.

Join now and get a better understanding of living with psoriasis

QualityCare™ is designed for people living with psoriasis, but both relatives and friends can benefit from joining QualityCare™. When you sign up to QualityCare™, you will get the same experience as if you were a patient. Signing up can give you a better understanding of what it’s like to live with psoriasis and you can find tips and ideas on how to support your loved one. The articles cover many different topics. You can use them as a good starting point for a conversation with your friend or family member with psoriasis.

Being close to a person living with psoriasis may mean that your own life could be affected by the condition. Just like your loved one, you have to find a way to cope with the condition. Acknowledging that you are also affected by psoriasis can be an eye-opener. Educate yourself about the condition. Do your best to support your friend or relative, but don’t forget your own needs in the process. If you need support yourself, reach out to friends or a health care professional. Psoriasis can be a serious illness, but it needn't prevent you or your loved one from living life to the fullest.

How to support

Friends and relatives can play a crucial role in supporting a person living with psoriasis. Here are three things you can do:

  • Get informed: Understanding the condition and its consequences is an important first step in supporting your loved one with psoriasis. Educate yourself about the symptoms, the causes, and the treatments. Joining QualityCare™ is a good way to get informed.
  • Support treatment: Most patients will often use one or more medications to cope with the disease. There are several ways that you can support the treatment of a person with psoriasis. You can encourage the person to visit their doctor. You can offer to accompany them to the doctor’s. This can help your friend or relative better remember and understand the advice from the doctor, and help you understand the treatment and the disease better. You can help with the application if it’s a topical treatment, or help in reminding them to take the treatment. Often psoriasis treatments need a bit of time to work so encouraging your friend or family member to stick with the treatment plan can also help.
  • Offer stress relief: Psoriasis and stress are known to be related. Stress can trigger a flare-up, while having a flare-up can cause more stress. Finding ways to deal with stress is an important part of coping with psoriasis. Do your best to help create a stress-free environment for your friend or family member with psoriasis. Lend a compassionate ear when your loved one needs to unload. Sometimes practical help with daily chores can relieve the burden of the situation. Finally there are several relaxation techniques that can give stress relief and also relieve psoriasis symptoms such as itch. Yoga, visualization and meditation – just to mention a few may also be of benefit. You can encourage your friend or family member to explore some of these activities.

Ask how you can help

How a person experiences living with psoriasis can vary a great deal. You always have to tailor your support to the individual. Try not to make assumptions about what your relative or friend needs from you, but ask instead. Be available – but not pushy. Too much help can make a person feel patronised or disrespected. Loss of control is one of the most frustrating consequences of living with psoriasis. If you take charge of that person's life and treatment, you can easily end up exhausted and resented. The point is not just to take care of your loved one, but to encourage that person to take care of themselves.

UK/IE 2013b/00076k, Date of prep: April 2015