Chronic lung diseases can be challenging for patients and their families. People with lung disease want to live full, satisfying lives; however, their condition can be limiting, which can cause frustration, anxiety and depression. The children of people with lung disease want their family members to enjoy life too, but sometimes knowing how to be most helpful can be difficult. Here are some tips about how to help a parent with lung disease.
What are the basics of disease management?
It’s important to talk with your parent who has lung disease. Knowing your parent’s goals and aspirations can help you understand how to better help your parent. You’ll also need to talk about important medical information. Here are some tips:
- Discuss an emergency plan
- Talk about medications and how to take them
- Keep a list of current doctors with their office phone numbers
- Have a list of approved people or family members to call in case of emergency
- Keep an up-to-date calendar of doctors’ appointments in an easily visible place
- Write down questions or concerns that you want to discuss with the doctor, and take your questions with you to appointments
How can you help your parent cope with lung disease?
Feeling afraid, frustrated or worried can add to the challenges of coping with a degenerative disease. These emotions are normal for a parent with lung disease, and because caregivers want the best for their parent as well, caregivers could feel worried, too. Here are some tips on how to start the conversation and find help:
- Talk with each other about how you feel
- Consider what you both are afraid of
- Think about what might happen if you don’t do anything
- Talk to someone you can trust, such as family, friends or a mental health professional
- Write in a journal about your experiences and how you feel about them
- Understand that it’s okay to feel afraid
- Discuss your goals with each other
- Join a support group
Join your parent and participate
Pulmonary rehabilitation could be part of your parent’s treatment plan. While pulmonary rehab sessions are supervised, many specialists give their patients breathing exercises to do at home. To show your support for your parent, you could participate in the home breathing exercises.
If your parent’s doctor has advised a new diet plan, you could try it, too. Join your parent in the kitchen, and cook some new recipes to help improve oxygen levels. Together you can encourage each other to eat a healthy, balanced diet.
Everyone needs exercise, and for someone with lung disease, exercise can be challenging. Therefore, exercise tolerance is important. If your parent’s doctor has recommended certain exercises, you could try them, too. Exercising together is a great way to stay healthy and have fun.
After helping your parent, you both may need to rest, so take time to relax. Remember that it’s okay to ask another family member or approved friend for help.
Resolve to breathe again
Being the child and caregiver of a parent with lung disease can be challenging. Taking care of yourself will help you take better care of your loved one. Participating in your parent’s daily activities while helping them feel as independent as possible could help you both live full and satisfying lives. Enjoy your time together exercising or cooking, and consider alternative treatment options. If you or a loved one has lung disease, contact the Lung Institute today for more information about stem cell therapy.