Understanding COPD

How to Be Supportive of a Loved One with COPD at Home

Nov 5, 2019
Home > Blog > How to Be Supportive of a Loved One with COPD at Home

As a caregiver, you’ll wear many hats and juggle many responsibilities, but above all, you’re there to be supportive. While you may feel helpless at times (that’s normal), there are plenty of ways you can be supportive of a loved one with COPD at home.

Here are just a few things you can do as a caregiver:

  • Know the signs of a flare-up
  • Know their triggers and remove them
  • Have an emergency plan
  • Encourage them

Know the signs of a flare-up.

While your loved one may know their signs of a flare-up, it can look different to an outsider. It may also take you some getting used to, especially if the COPD diagnosis is new. Should there ever be a time in which your loved one cannot verbalize how they are feeling, it is important that you are able to recognize some of these common signs yourself:

  • Wheezing
  • Swelling in hands and feet
  • Increased coughing
  • Blue lips and/or fingers
  • Heavy mucus production

Talk to your loved one about what a flare-up looks and feels like to them. Understand what you need to look for in their own unique situation.

Know their triggers and remove them from your home.

Triggers are things in either someone’s external or internal environments that cause flare-ups. Every person living with COPD has different triggers, but there are plenty of common ones that are easily preventable. The best rule of thumb is to stay away from anything with strong scents. For a list of common external and internal triggers, click here. 

Have an emergency plan.

COPD flare-ups can be a little unpredictable. You never know just how bad the symptoms will get or where a flare-up may happen. It is important for a caregiver to be prepared and have a detailed COPD action plan on what to do should your loved one’s symptoms ever reach a point where they need immediate attention. 

Please note that you should never make medical decisions without direction and approval from your doctor.

Encourage them.

Many people living with COPD are lost and confused. They often feel like no one understands and the feeling of loneliness can creep in. Stay positive and be an encouragement. That’s the biggest role of any caregiver.

Remember, you are not alone in this caregiver journey. Caring for someone with COPD can be difficult, but there are plenty of resources available to you. Be sure to take some time to take care of yourself and find the support you need.

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  1. Ways to Help Someone with COPD (2019, May 21) Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/copd/helping-your-loved-one#1

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