When a parent or spouse suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), managing their life and condition is stressful for them and yourself. As a caretaker, we strive to provide a comfortable and happy existence free of pain and sorrow. If you are struggling with caring for a loved one diagnosed with COPD, check out these tips for making both your life and their life easier.
Keep Them Active
COPD affects the lungs of an individual, causing feelings of pressure and breathlessness. Because of these adverse symptoms, many caretakers believe proper exercise is out of the picture. Fortunately, there are many simple aerobic exercises that your parents can do to increase their quality of life!
Walking with your parent or spouse, even for short distances, goes a long way in enriching their mental and physical wellbeing. Purchase a set of two- to three-pound weights and have your loved one practice arm curls and lifts; this activity builds strength and improves their breathing. If your parent is on oxygen therapy, they can conduct exercises right from their couch, such as leg extensions or chair dancing.
Unfortunately, COPD increases an individual’s chances of contracting respiratory infections that cause more significant health issues. To proactively protect your loved one’s immune system and wellbeing, maintain a healthy lifestyle for yourself.
If you become sick with a cold or flu, practice social distancing from your parent or spouse as much as possible – have a backup plan for another person to help with caretaking in the event of contracting an illness. Getting regular inoculations is the best way to prevent getting sick and spreading diseases to loved ones.
Implement COPD-Friendly Amenities
Many amenities support COPD individuals and make their lives easier around the house. Simple items such as shower chairs take the stress out of conducting daily and necessary activities. Overall, you want to install amenities that reduce physical exertion.
There are also simple actions to take that create an environment better suited to reduce symptoms like breathlessness – regular cleaning and dusting keeps dust and bacteria out of the air and away from your parents’ lungs. Remember to wash your hands often and sanitize your loved one’s living space regularly to kill common bacteria that pose a threat.
Stay Involved With Their Treatment
Simply going to your loved one’s doctor appointments and therapy sessions helps you better understand what they are going through and how you can help alleviate their pain. Your loved one may be less receptive to treatment from a doctor or specialist. However, they’re more likely to respond to a valued family member. Gather information from their doctor and do research about COPD on the internet to better grasp the disease and its effects on individuals – understanding treatments such as the benefits of oxygen therapy better prepares you and a loved one for that process.
Living with COPD is challenging but is equally stressful to you as a caretaker. Ultimately, we want to provide the best possible existence for our parents. These tips for caring for a loved one diagnosed with COPD will make the entire process much easier for every party involved.