November 23, 2021
It may have started with you telling your inner circle about your COPD, but as the news has slowly spread, you’ve realized that it’s difficult to communicate about your COPD. Sharing your COPD diagnosis and knowing how to answer the many questions that come about it can be uncomfortable – for you and also for those you’re speaking with as well.
Surprisingly, you might find that the greatest difficulties are in communicating with your primary caregiving partner – the person who is closest to you personally. The caregiver/care receiver relationship can spark many emotions. The person receiving care may feel self-conscious and insecure about requiring assistance, which can cause feelings of anger, sadness, and frustration, 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 manage someone else’s care needs along with their own.
There are a number of essential tactics to improve communication with your care partner:
- Do not beat around the bush. Clearly and honestly express your emotions and needs.
- Make sure you are both fully educated about COPD, the associated symptoms and treatment options, together with its typical progression. The doctor can offer resources for both of you to more fully understand what you are 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 individual.
- Listen to your partner – and let them know they are being heard. Maintain eye contact, nod, or use other nonverbal cues to show you’re being attentive.
- Remind yourself that no one is a mind-reader. If you’re assuming your care partner knows what you are thinking or how you’re feeling merely by your actions, it opens the door to misinterpretation.
- Refrain from using argumentative words and phrases, for instance, “You never…” or “You always…”. The person will probably become defensive, and hurt feelings will intensify.
- Maintain respect and empathy for each other. 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 take a beat if emotions get heavy. Take a break from each other and focus on soothing activities, such as reading, listening to music, exercising, or writing in a journal. When you both feel calmer, attempt the conversation again.
At Continuum, providers of assisted home care in St. Louis and in the surrounding areas, we understand the frustrations that may occur when managing a chronic health condition like COPD, and we’re available to help. Our experienced caregivers make comforting companions to talk with and to spend time engaging in enjoyable activities together. We work with family caregivers to make certain they have time necessary for self-care, while enriching the lives of the older adults for whom they care. Get in touch with us any time online or at (314) 863-9912 or (636) 861-3336 to get started.