While you may have started by just telling your inner circle, you may be ready to talk about your COPD with more loved ones. However, oftentimes, that can be easier said than done. Talking about your COPD diagnosis and knowing the best way to respond to the numerous questions that you receive about it could be uncomfortable – for you personally, and also for those you are speaking with as well.
Surprisingly, you could find that it’s more difficult to talk with your primary caregiving partner – the person who is closest to you personally – than anyone else. The caregiver/care receiver relationship can stir up a lot of emotion. The person receiving care may feel insecure and self-conscious about needing help, and that may bring about feelings of anger and frustration, just to name a couple. The care provider may feel incapable of meeting every one of the required needs, regretful for mistakes made, and downright exhausted from attempting to manage someone else’s care needs along with their own.
There are a number of key techniques to improve communication with your caregiving partner:
- Don’t beat around the bush. Clearly and honestly share your feelings and needs.
- Make sure you’re both fully knowledgeable about COPD, the associated symptoms and treatment plans, together with its typical progression. The physician can offer information for both of you to more accurately understand what you are facing.
- 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.
- Listen to your partner – and let them know they’re being heard. Nod, maintain eye contact, or use other nonverbal cues to demonstrate you’re listening.
- Remind yourself that nobody is a mind-reader. If you are assuming your caregiving partner knows what you are thinking or how you are feeling simply by your actions, it opens the door to misconceptions.
- Avoid argumentative phrases and words, for instance, “You always…” or “You never…”. The person is probably going to become defensive, intensifying hurt feelings.
- Always maintain respect and empathy for each other. The two 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 important to call a time-out if things start to get heated. Take a break from one another while focusing on relaxing activities to ground you, for example, reading, listening to music, exercising, or writing in a journal. Try the conversation again when you both feel calmer.
At Atlanta Home Care Partners, we understand the challenges that can arise when battling a chronic health issue like COPD, and we are available to help. If you need someone to talk about your COPD with, our compassionate caregivers make the perfect companions to talk with, and to spend time engaging in enjoyable 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. Reach out to us any time online or at (404) 228-0103 to learn more about our home care in Norcross and the nearby areas.