The official blog of the Lung Institute.
June marks National Family Month, and the goal is to promote the importance of building strong families. While bringing the family closer together, illness can test the bonds of any family.
Pillars of National Family Month
Some of the principles for strong families are:
- Build trust
- Show commitment
- Grow through crisis
- Spend time together
- Have fun as a family
- Show love and affection
Growing through crisis is one of the more difficult pillars that families of people with lung disease may be facing. The health of a loved one is compromised, and there are unknowns about the future.
Families and Caregiving
At the Lung Institute, an important aspect of National Family Month is caregiving. Many patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) need the help of family members to care for them. For patients with end-stage COPD or more severe lung disease, their quality of life is greatly diminished, and thus need help with most tasks.
Caregiving means taking an active role in your loved one’s life, and helping them with anything from grocery shopping to going up the stairs to gathering documents for a specialist appointment. Being a caregiver can be difficult, but it is a reality for an estimated 65 million Americans, or 29 percent of the U.S. population. This number may vary because many people are “informal caregivers,” meaning that they may not recognize their role just yet or their role is not clear cut. Becoming a caregiver may happen over time, as a loved one became sicker or needs more help. It can be difficult to see your loved one struggle, and juggle multiple doctor appointments and various medications.
When a loved one is sick, strong family relationships can help . If you are taking care of a parent, it can be difficult to deal with the role reversal, and other potential issues. Some people with COPD are in denial, or hesitate to ask for help. Once a loved one is sick, there can be feelings of helplessness, stress or isolation for the caregiver. You can talk to your loved one’s doctor or join a support group, in person or online, to learn more.