Caring For a Loved One with COPD: Tips for Better Communication
It began with those in your inner circle, and has slowly been spreading outward to friends and acquaintances. Revealing your COPD diagnosis and knowing how to respond to the numerous questions that arise about it may be uncomfortable – for you, and for those you are speaking with as well.
Surprisingly, you could find that the biggest challenges are in communicating with your primary caregiving partner – the person who is closest to you. Both having COPD and caring for a loved one with COPD can bring up a plethora of emotions. The person on the receiving end of care may feel self-conscious and insecure as a consequence of needing assistance, which can bring about feelings of anger, frustration, and anger, just to name a few. The care provider may feel incapable of meeting each of the required needs, regretful for mistakes made, and downright exhausted from attempting to manage someone else’s care needs along with their own.
There are some key ways to improve communication with your care partner:
Make sure you are both completely educated about COPD, the corresponding symptoms and treatment options, together with its typical progression. The physician can provide information for both of you to more accurately understand what you are facing.
Don’t beat around the bush. Clearly and honestly share your emotions and needs.
Listen to the other person – and let them know they’re being heard. Maintain eye contact, nod or use other nonverbal cues to demonstrate you are being attentive.
Be assertive without being controlling. Your feelings are valid and deserve to be discussed in a constructive way without lashing out at the other individual.
Refrain from using argumentative words and phrases, for instance, "You never..." or "You always...". The individual is probably going to become defensive, intensifying hurt feelings.
Remember that no one is a mind-reader. If you’re assuming your caregiving partner knows what you’re thinking or how you are feeling simply by your actions, it opens the door to misunderstandings.
Maintain empathy and respect for each other. You both are facing uncharted territory and evolving challenges, and will both make mistakes. A little grace will go a long way.
It’s also a good idea to call a time-out if emotions start to intensify. Take a break from each other and concentrate on calming activities, such as listening to music, reading, exercising, or writing in a journal. When you both feel calmer, try the conversation again.
At The Care Company, we understand the stress that can arise when battling a chronic health condition like COPD, and we’re available to help. Our helpful caregivers make great companions to talk with and spend time engaging in interesting activities together. We work with family caregivers to make certain they have time required for self-care, while enhancing the lives of the seniors for whom they care. Call us at (416) 422-2273 any time to learn more about our home care in Ontario.