Helping or caring for a loved one with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) can feel like a lot to take on. There's the challenge of caregiving, because what seems best for someone isn't always what the person wants to do. There's also the stress of learning how to manage COPD and often other health problems. And just as important is your need for good health and balance in your own life.
Sometimes it can be hard for people to accept help. Or they may choose not to accept help. So you may have to adjust the way you think, ask, listen, and respond. For example, you can:
A main goal of caregiving is to help your loved one have the best quality of life possible. To learn what that means for your loved one, try asking questions like:
If your loved one smokes, you can gently encourage him or her to quit. Think of your comments about smoking as only one event that moves your loved one toward quitting.
If your loved one is trying to quit smoking, you can be a great source of support and motivation. If your loved one asks for your support while trying to quit, you can:
Cooking dinner, putting away laundry, or even just walking across the living room can be exhausting for a person who has COPD.
When helping your loved one, be patient. And let your loved one do as much on his or her own as possible.
To help your loved one get tasks done more easily and with as little effort as possible, encourage him or her to:
COPD can make it hard to eat well and stay at a healthy weight. Losing weight means losing muscle mass, including the muscles that help with breathing. It can make it harder for your loved one to breathe.
Boosting the appetite
Your loved one may have a low appetite or need some encouragement to eat regularly. To help encourage your loved one to eat:
Gaining weight (if your loved one needs to)
You can help your loved one add calories and protein to meals or snacks. Try these tips.
If your loved one has other health problems that may restrict the foods he or she can eat, talk with your loved one's doctor or a registered dietitian before you make any changes in your loved one's diet.
Breathing easier while eating
Your loved one may have a hard time breathing while eating. But there are things he or she can do to make it easier. Encourage your loved one to:
Caring for a loved one can be rewarding, but it also can be stressful. It's really important to make time for yourself so you don't get overwhelmed.
Here are a few ways you can be kind to yourself.
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