It began with those in your inner circle, and it has gradually been spreading outward to close friends and acquaintances. Discussing your COPD diagnosis and knowing how to respond to the many questions that arise about it can be uncomfortable – for you personally, and for those you’re speaking with as well.
Interestingly, you could find that the greatest challenges come in communicating with your primary caregiving partner – the individual who is closest to you. Family caregiving for COPD can raise a number of emotions. The person on the receiving end of care may feel insecure and self-conscious as a result of needing assistance, which could lead to feelings of anger, sadness, and frustration, just to name a few. The care provider may feel incapable of meeting all of the required needs, regretful for mistakes made, and downright worn-out from attempting to manage someone else’s care needs with their own.
There are a number of key strategies to improve communication with your caregiving partner:
- Make sure you are both fully informed about COPD, the corresponding symptoms and treatment plans, and its typical progression. The doctor can offer resources for both of you to more fully understand what you are facing.
- Don’t beat around the bush. Clearly and honestly state your feelings and needs.
- Listen to your partner – and let them know they’re being heard. Nod, maintain eye contact or use other nonverbal indicators to demonstrate you’re listening.
- Be assertive without being controlling. Your emotions are valid and deserve to be shared in a constructive way without lashing out at the other person.
- Avoid argumentative words and phrases, for instance, “You never…” or “You always…”. The individual is probably going to become defensive and hurt feelings will intensify.
- Remind yourself that no one is a mind-reader. If you’re assuming your caregiving partner knows what you are thinking or how you’re feeling merely by your actions, it opens the door to misinterpretation.
- Maintain empathy and respect for one another. You both are facing new and evolving challenges, and will both make mistakes. A little grace will go a long way.
It’s also a smart idea to call a time-out if emotions start to escalate. Take a break from one another and focus on calming activities, such as listening to music, reading, exercising, or writing in a journal. When you both feel calmer, try the conversation again.
At Generations at Home, we understand the stress that can develop when battling a chronic health issue like COPD, and we are available to help. Our friendly caregivers make great companions to talk with and spend time with engaging in enjoyable activities. We work with family caregivers to make certain they have time required for self-care, while enriching the lives of the older adults for whom they care. Reach out to us any time to find out more about our home care services in Pinellas County, Florida.