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Who Cares For Who With COPD?

What is meant by who cares for who with COPD? Frequently a person with COPD has a spouse, partner, or other loved one with COPD or another chronic illness. COPD is a progressive lung disease that stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This is the third leading cause of death in the United States.1 Falling under COPD is emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and the generic form which is alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. A chronic illness or disease is one that usually persists for three months or more. They can maybe be controlled, but not cured. Asthma, arthritis, diabetes, cancer, ulcerative colitis, Barette’s Esophagus, GERD, heart disease, and stroke are just some of the chronic illnesses or diseases.

How do we do this?

So often we wonder how we can live with someone and all they go through, as they struggle with COPD or another chronic illness. Imagine that you have COPD and so does your spouse. How do you do that? Who cares for who? Frequently I hear more about the person with the earlier stage providing most of the care for the one who is struggling more.

Check out these scenarios. Have you heard this before? Do you and a loved one live like this?

  • I have COPD, he’s diabetic. Today I may have a better breathing day and his neuropathy might be bothering him. It would be my time to care for him.
  • We both have COPD, I’m Stage 2 and she’s Stage 3. The person who is feeling better and strongest would cook and care for the other.
  • Both of us have COPD and are both Stage 4. We can’t afford helpers, we take turns taking care of each other. We don’t eat very often because it’s too hard to cook and clean.
  • He has stage 3 COPD and is just getting out of the hospital. I have cancer. It’s hard waiting on him, because I’m doing chemo right now, but we have to help and wait on each other.

Good days and bad days

When you share care, it’s important to realize that you will each have your good days and bad. Just like your COPD life, you will likely have to be flexible on who is going to cook, clean, or even help the other one shower and dress.

These are things that are affecting each of our lives. It’s difficult coping with one chronic illness. When you each have a chronic illness, life has more challenges for each of you. It’s important that you both are able to get the care that’s needed.

How do you do this? Where do you turn?

  • Talk to your doctors and nurse, see if they have recommendations for you. Possibly assistance as well.
  • Call Social Security to see if you qualify for in-home care and/or cleaning.
  • Check with Social Services to see if you qualify for their programs. Something that would give some in-home care, someone who can clean.
  • Through Medicare, are you able to get assistance for your care?
  • Call Meals on Wheels to see if you each qualify for their meals.
  • Are there additional programs or assistance in your community or state? Social Services may have answers to this as well.

My husband has a couple of chronic illnesses – I do as well. He came to the doctor with me one day and I heard the doctor ask if I get along okay. My husband replied, “We take care of each other”. It was so tender, I almost melted.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/copd/basics-about.html

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