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Living with COPD: How Caregivers Play a Vital Role

Posted by Caleb Umstead on Jul 16, 2014, 11:29:00 AM

COPD_Caregivers

Having a loved one be diagnosed with COPD or another life threatening lung disease takes an emotional toll on you both, but it is extremely important that as a caregiver you are educated on resources and information on how to support and promote an active and healthy lifestyle for your loved one. It's the little things that matter, which is why a few adjustments applied to your loved one's daily routines and habits will have numerous amounts of beneficial factors.

Caregiver's Playing a Vital Part in COPD Treatment

Here are a couple lifestyle adjustments that you as a caregiver can implement in your loved one's life to ensure a happy and healthy life:

  • Create a Dedicated Exercise Plan: Sit down and include your loved one's doctor to develop an exercise plan, which will include lung, heart, and muscle benefiting exercises. Constant exercise will increase muscle and emotional strength, which will help reduce the felt symptoms such as breathlessness and depression. Your loved one watching themselves slowly progress will provide them with a positive attitude, which will further heighten their outlook of their overall treatment. Something as simple as taking a walk around the neighborhood will suffice, remember to start slow and always move at a pace that is comfortable for your loved one.

  • Proper Emotional Health: Ensuring that your loved one has a positive outlook on life is extremely vital for their treatment, so doing everything in your power to help them enjoy hobbies like they once did should be at the top of your list.

  • Enforce Sanitation: The first step in doing this is to avoid any friends or family members that have a cold, the flu, or pneumonia. The already weakened immune system makes your loved one at a higher risk of developing further infections, or contracting the flu on pneumonia. Which is why every year you and your loved one should get flu and pneumonia vaccinations. For every guest that visits your home you should highly encourage them to wash their hands frequently, as you should do the same. To best protect from contagious infections keep a bottle of hand sanitizer on your person at all times.

  • Quality Time is the Best Time: COPD and other chronic lung diseases cause vast mobility restrictions, ultimately crushing frequent social interactions. Their loss of mobility and socialization can have drastic effects on their emotional health and overall outlook on life, but it is known that social bonds improve the overall outlook on life in patients suffering from COPD.

  • Improve Nutrition: When cooking meals for your loved one be sure to include majority fruits, veggies, and lean protein. You should also make sure that their diet includes a healthy amount of water, unless told differently from the respiratory specialist. Specialist say it is better for patients to eat 5-6 smaller portioned meals throughout the day, which will reduce overeating, something that causes heightened breathlessness.

  • Be Prepared for an Emergency: You should always have a set plan on what to do in case of an emergency exacerbation, and know when to put this plan into action.. This should include all emergency numbers for doctors and respiratory specialist, as well as which hospital you will be going to.

The best way to promote an active and healthy lifestyle in your loved one is to include your loved ones respiratory specialist, he/she will be able to provide further tips on a healthy diet plan in addition to tips and adjustments for an exercise plan.

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Topics: COPD, Disease Management, caregivers

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