November 23, 2021 by Dean Bellefeuille
While it may have started with your inner circle, your COPD diagnosis could now be gradually spreading to more friends and acquaintances. Revealing your COPD diagnosis and knowing how to reply to the many questions that you receive about it can be uncomfortable – for you, and also for those you are speaking with as well.
It may be surprising, but you may experience the biggest challenges in speaking with your primary caregiving partner – the person who is closest to you personally. The caregiver/care receiver relationship can cause a range of emotions. The individual receiving care may feel insecure and self-conscious as a consequence of needing assistance, that may result in feelings of anger, frustration, and embarrassment, amongst more. The caregiver may feel incapable of meeting every one of the required needs, regretful for mistakes made, and downright fatigued from trying to manage someone else’s care needs with their own.
There are some key ways to improve communication with your caregiving partner:
- Do not beat around the bush. Clearly and honestly state your emotions and needs.
- Always maintain respect and empathy for one another. The two of you are facing uncharted territory and evolving challenges, and will both make mistakes. A little grace will go a long way.
- Listen to the other person – and let them know they’re being heard. Maintain eye contact, nod, or use other nonverbal cues to demonstrate you’re listening.
- Refrain from using argumentative phrases and words, for instance, “You never…” or “You always…”. The person is probably going to become defensive and hurt feelings will intensify.
- Make sure you are both fully knowledgeable about COPD, the associated symptoms and treatment options, and its typical progression. The physician will have resources for both of you to more accurately understand what you’re facing.
- 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.
- Remember that nobody 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.
It can also be helpful to take a breather if emotions start to overflow. Take a break from one another while focusing on calming activities, such as listening to music, reading, exercising, or writing in a journal. When you both feel more at ease, try the conversation again.
At At Home Independent Living, we understand the stress which can come when dealing with a chronic health condition like COPD, and we are here to help. Our compassionate caregivers make ideal companions to talk with and spend time engaging in interesting activities together. We work with family caregivers to make certain they have time required for self-care, while enriching the lives of the seniors for whom they care. Contact us any time online or at 315-579-HOME (4663) for additional information about our in home senior care in Marietta, NY and the nearby areas.