Chronic Lung Disease: Notes for Family and Friends
Being close to someone with chronic lung disease will likely mean some changes in your life. As your loved one copes with chronic lung disease, you may be asked to be a helper, caregiver, or source of support.
Learn as much as you can about chronic lung disease. This will help you know what to expect. It will also show you ways that you can help.
Talk to your loved one’s health care team. Ask any questions you have. Make sure you understand your role in treatment.
Spend time with your loved one. Take time to talk and to do things you both enjoy.
Join a local support group. Or, contact the Well Spouse Association at 800-838-0879 or www.wellspouse.org.
Tips for caregivers
Keep in mind that you can’t take good care of someone else if you don’t take care of yourself, too. Take breaks when you need them. Considering your own needs is not selfish, it’s vital.
You may want to do things for your loved one to help save time. But let your loved one do some things for him- or herself. This can help your loved one feel involved and independent. Encourage your loved one to stick with old hobbies or try new ones. And ask friends to visit if your loved one agrees.
Be on the lookout for signs of depression in your loved one. These include trouble sleeping; loss of interest in activities, food, or people; and talk about feeling hopeless or very sad. If you notice these signs, tell your loved one’s health care provider.
Watch for depression in yourself. If you feel sad, guilty, tired, hopeless, or helpless most of the time, talk to your health care provider. Depression can and should be treated.