Caregivers experience life’s greatest challenges and its greatest rewards. Caregiving for a loved one with a chronic disease can be physically and emotionally stressful. You may have to assist with transportation, finances, household tasks and personal care for someone with limited ability to perform these tasks.
Caregiving can also positively affect your empathy, compassion and personal growth. You may enjoy feelings of reward and peace by being able to provide the support and care your loved one needs.
At first, you may struggle to find the right balance between caregiving, tending to your own needs and coping with the new changes in your life. We hope this guide helps you as you navigate the landscape of caring for a loved one with chronic lung disease.
How Caregivers Can Help Their Loved Ones
As a caregiver, the most important thing you can do for your patient is to educate yourself. You should know the specifics of your loved one’s disease, including symptoms and available treatments. Keep a detailed medication list along with scheduled administration times. You should also learn how to operate medical devices like oxygen concentrators, spirometers and inhalers so you can assist your loved one when needed.
It’s important for you to recognize when your loved one is experiencing a symptom flare-up and when medical care is necessary. It may be helpful for you to keep a daily journal tracking your loved one’s symptoms and treatments. Documentation will help you identify treatment methods that may or may not be working. You should know what to do in the event of an exacerbation and how you can help keep your loved one calm when they experience breathlessness.
How Caregivers Can Help Themselves
As a caregiver, you must take care of your well-being before you become responsible for someone else’s. Caregivers often suffer from depression, anxiety, chronic stress, helplessness, uncertainty about the future and social isolation. Know how to recognize the signs of caregiver burnout, which may include mood swings, loss of interest in hobbies and activities, increased fatigue and changes in your eating and sleeping schedules.
Part of your job as a caregiver is to make time for self-care. Pursue individual hobbies and interests, schedule regular social activities with your friends and arrange times when you can be alone to tend to your own needs. Keep yourself in good health by eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help and to accept help when it’s offered.
How Lung Health Institute Can Help Caregivers and COPD Patients
One of the most challenging aspects of caregiving is looking toward an uncertain future. Chronic lung disease is progressive, which means your loved one’s symptoms will worsen over time, which might result in increased care needs.
At Lung Health Institute, we may be able to help. Our facility offers cellular therapy treatment, which has the potential to reduce chronic airway inflammation and slow down progression of the disease. Cellular therapy may be able to help your loved one Breathe Easier™ and experience a higher quality of life.
If you are interested in learning more about how cellular therapy can help treat chronic lung disease, contact a Lung Health Institute patient coordinator today.