Someone You Care About Has COPD

Someone you care about has COPD and you would like to visit. What do you say?

Offer to connect

I would say, “Hi, it’s so nice seeing you and talking with you. Would you like to go out and have coffee or lunch sometime? If not go out, could I pick up sandwiches? We can visit while we eat." After some conversation, you could ask if you could do anything to help, maybe to dust, scrub the floor, or even carry out the garbage. They may not seem fun to do. Imagine how difficult it would be for your COPDer to handle those tasks.

You should be able to tell when she tires and needs to rest. Remind her that you’ll stop by again in a week or so. If she wants to do anything special, you can do that. Don’t make promises that you can’t keep. You might be the highlight of this COPDer's life!

Some things you could do to help

Doing any of these would be a big help to your friend with COPD:

  • Dust? Yes, please! Help with other cleaning chores too.
  • Help sort through some things that she wants to. Then she'll know whether to keep them, throw them out, or donate.
  • Organize an area or a room in the house that she is wanting to be done.
  • Is there food and drink in the refrigerator? Maybe you could pick up a few items at the grocery store.
  • Does she like to read or do puzzle books? Something like this might make a nice surprise. Be sure to get the kind she likes, otherwise, she might not understand or want them

Things to look out for

Have you observed her struggling or having difficulty with any of the essential parts of the COPD routine? Here are some additional considerations:

  • Maybe it’s time that you both visit with her doctor? You could visit alone if you are one of her contacts.
  • Exercise? It’s so important. Maybe you could walk with her or help her do some exercises. Does she take pulmonary rehab? Maybe her doctor would recommend this.
  • Are her prescriptions delivered without problem? If not, you should talk to the pharmacy for your loved one.
  • Is her breathing and coughing controlled or is she struggling? She definitely needs an appointment with her doctor if so.
  • Does she struggle walking or using the stairs?
  • Can she shower and care for her personal needs?
  • What other things can you think of?

The question of independence

Is she is struggling with independence and unable to care for herself? Maybe it’s time to find a caretaker or someone to stay with her and help her. Another option could be assisted living, where she can have her independence and yet there are others to look in on her periodically. Other options are a nursing home, palliative care, or hospice. Her safety is so important. Share your thoughts and feelings with her doctor, his recommendations are what are needed, regardless. Your loved one might be on top of it, do discuss with her too.

A blessing for generations

If there is someone else caring for your loved one, maybe you could visit and let the caretaker have a break. It’s nice to have one on one time with your loved one. How fun it would be to take time to learn about your loved one? To talk about her life and to write down her remarks. She would live on and what a blessing it would be for generations.

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