Caring for Someone With COPD? Try These Suggestions!
COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a progressive lung disease that makes breathing more difficult over time. COPD develops slowly, most often caused by long term exposure to lung irritants such as cigarette smoke (firsthand or secondhand), air pollutants, chemical fumes and/or dust.
How Can Caregivers Help?
Positioning- When your loved one is having trouble breathing have them sit straight up and lean forward slightly. Support them as needed with a pillow.
Pursed Lip Breathing- This involves inhaling slowly through the nose and exhaling slowly through pursed lips. This increases resistance in your airways which helps them stay open. Pursed lip breathing can help you calm down and help with breathing.
Keeping Calm- Fear and anxiety is very real for COPD patients. Caregivers must respond by being calm and supportive.
Air Movement- Feeling air movement around your loved one’s face during times of breathlessness can “fool the brain” into feeling like they are breathing better and can have a calming effect.
Combating Fatigue- Encourage your loved one to conserve energy and prioritize tasks. Resting in between activities allows them to catch their breath easier.
Risk of Infections- People with COPD are at higher risk for colds and other respiratory infections. Caregivers should always follow proper infection control practices and encourage your loved one to avoid situations where they may have exposure to infections such as a cold or the flu.
Need an extra hand caring for your loved one? Call Visiting Angels! Our caregivers can help with transportation to and from doctor’s appointments, medication reminders, grocery shopping, help with personal care and much, much more! Call and speak with a care manager to discuss your in-home care needs for your aging loved one!