It began with your inner circle, those closest to you, and it has gradually been spreading outward to good friends and acquaintances. Sharing your COPD diagnosis and knowing how to reply to the various questions that arise about it can be uncomfortable – for you, and also for those you’re speaking with as well.
Surprisingly, you might find that the largest challenges come in speaking with your primary caregiving partner – the person who is closest to you. The caregiver/care receiver relationship can bring up a plethora of emotions. The individual on the receiving end of care may feel insecure and self-conscious as a consequence of requiring assistance, which could lead to feelings of anger, frustration, and depression, just to name a few. The care provider may feel incapable of meeting each of the required needs, regretful for mistakes made, and downright fatigued from attempting to handle someone else’s care needs alongside their own.
There are some key techniques to improve communication with your caregiving partner:
- Make sure you are both fully informed about COPD, the corresponding symptoms and treatment options, and its typical progression. The physician can provide information for both of you to more fully understand what you are facing.
- Don’t beat around the bush. Honestly and clearly express your feelings and needs.
- Listen to your partner – and let them know they are being heard. Maintain eye contact, nod, or use other nonverbal cues to demonstrate you are listening.
- Be assertive without being controlling. Your feelings are valid and deserve to be discussed in a constructive way without lashing out at the other individual.
- Avoid argumentative words and phrases, for instance, “You never…” or “You always…”. The person is likely to become defensive, and hurt feelings will intensify.
- Remind yourself that nobody is a mind-reader. If you’re assuming your caregiving partner knows what you are thinking or how you are feeling simply by your actions, it opens the door to misconceptions.
- Always maintain empathy and respect for one another. Both of you are facing uncharted territory and evolving challenges and will both make mistakes. A little grace will go a long way.
It is also a good idea to call a time-out if emotions start to escalate. Take a break from each other and focus on fun and calming activities, such as reading, listening to music, exercising, or writing in a journal. When you both feel calmer, try the conversation again.
At Home Sweet Home In-Home Care, we understand the stress which can develop when managing a chronic health issue like COPD, and we’re available to help. Our pleasant caregivers make ideal companions to talk with and spend time with, engaging in enjoyable activities together. We work with family caregivers to make sure they have time required for self-care, while enriching the lives of the seniors for whom they care. Contact us online any time or call (269) 763-5350 for more information on how we provide the kind of in-home care Mattawan and other Michigan communities trust most. For further information on the different areas we serve in Michigan, please visit our Locations page.