It began with your inner circle, those closest to you, and has gradually been spreading outward to good friends and acquaintances. Revealing your COPD diagnosis and knowing how to respond to the various questions that arise about it may be uncomfortable – for you, and for those you are speaking with as well.

Interestingly, you may find that the biggest challenges come in talking about COPD with your primary caregiving partner – the individual who is closest to you. The caregiver/care receiver relationship can bring up a number of emotions. The person on the receiving end of care may feel insecure and self-conscious as a consequence of needing assistance, that may result in feelings of anger and frustration, just to name a couple. The care provider may feel incapable of meeting all of the required needs, regretful for mistakes made, and downright worn-out from attempting to handle someone else’s care needs with their own.

There are several key techniques to improve communication with your caregiving partner:

  • Make sure you are both fully knowledgeable about COPD, the associated symptoms and treatment options, as well as its typical progression. The physician will have information for both of you to more accurately understand what you’re facing.
  • Don’t beat around the bush. Honestly and clearly express your feelings 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 show you are paying attention.
  • Be assertive without being controlling. Your feelings are valid and deserve to be shared in a constructive way without lashing out at the other individual.
  • Refrain from using argumentative phrases and words, for example, “You never…” or “You always…”. The person is probably going to become defensive, and hurt feelings will intensify.
  • Remember that no one is a mind-reader. If you’re assuming your care partner knows what you are thinking or how you’re feeling merely by your actions, it opens the door to misinterpretation.
  • Always maintain respect and empathy for each other. The two of you are facing uncharted territory and evolving challenges and will both make mistakes. A little grace will go a long way.

It’s also smart to call a time-out if emotions start to escalate. Take a break from one another and concentrate on calming activities, such as reading, listening to music, exercising, or writing in a journal. When you both feel calmer, try the conversation again.

At Charter Home Health, we understand the frustrations that may arise when battling a chronic health condition like COPD, and we’re available to help. Our friendly caregivers make ideal companions to talk to and to spend time with, engaging in pleasant activities. We work with family caregivers to make certain they have time necessary for self-care, while enriching the lives of the seniors for whom they care. Get in touch with us online or by phone at (215) 935-6321 for a free of charge in-home consultation and for more information about our professional services for elderly home care in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas.