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The ABC's of COPD Caregiving

When I think about the time I spent taking care of my mom's journey with COPD, each letter of the alphabet brings back a different and important memory. Love, understanding, and patience are the most important things in life.

A: Assurance

Every task you encounter daily with your loved one is the chance to assure them they are not alone in their journey.

B: Balance

Assist your loved one to maintain balance in rest, rehab, and overall wellness. As a caregiver, you can best demonstrate this by living it out in example form. Easier said than done, I know.

C: Connect

There is power in fostering a connection in the day to day activities you assist them with.

D: Discernment

Be confident in what you know, and be open to seek assistance in regards to your loved one’s care.

E: Empathy

Allowing the desire to help your loved one to carry you through the uncomfortable parts of caregiving.

F: Flexible

What worked last week, or even yesterday, might not be enough to provide the best care for your loved one.

G: Grace

Give grace to yourself and your loved one who is receiving your care. For most, the person you care for has been the giver of care for many years, and now, you get to return the favor.

H: Home

You can create elements of home even in a hospital setting by bringing pictures and other comfort items for your loved one. Home is often where the heart is, and your role as a caregiver can help foster that for your loved one every day.

I: Information

Never stop learning ways to provide more efficient care.

J: Joy

Seek ways to bring out joy in the work you do, as well as the day to day activities of those you care for. You can find joy among the pain of a chronic illness. It is all about perspective.

K: Kinetic

As a caregiver, you are called to be kinetic (in motion).

L: Love

Love of what you do. Provide care and love for the person receiving care.

M: Mindful

Be mindful of your words, thoughts, and actions as a caregiver.

N: Nurturing

Never underestimate the importance of a hand to hold, and holding space for your loved one to feel safe enough to talk, or safe enough to be silent.

O: Observant

Always have measurable tools to compare cognitive, and physical decline. Write/ track details of care daily to help you notice developing trends.

P: Patience

Be patient with yourself as you walk through or even crawl through your caregiving road. Be patient with the process.

Q: Quality

The quality of your care or time spent with your loved one is more important than spending hours with them, getting a lot accomplished but doing so in a rushed, disconnected way.

R: Resourceful

What worked last week—or even yesterday—might not be the best solution today.

S: Sacred

Caregiving is a sacred contract between two people. Treat the caregiving journey as such.

T: Tolerance

You may find yourself having a rough day as a caregiver. It is important to remind yourself that humans experiencing a challenging illness are not giving you a hard time. They are human beings experiencing a hard time. Or the tasks they are trying to do are giving them a hard time.

U: Uplift

A COPD journey will have its share of ups and downs. Celebrate the victories, no matter how small.

V: Validate

Acknowledge the feelings your loved one is going through during their COPD journey. Seek ways to have your feelings validated as you navigate the emotions of being a caregiver. Therapy or having a caregiver mentor can assist with this.

W: Wellness

It's critical to focus on supporting the whole individual, both as a patient and someone that you love. Lung health is not the only aspect of COPD.

X: XoXo

If you are blessed enough to care for your loved ones as I did for over 15 years, you know the role physical connection plays. As the caregiver, I was always the daughter, and they were my parents.

During my caregiving journey with my mom, I think I tried my best to catch up on all the hugs and kisses I might have missed out on while I was in college and out living life out of arms reach. A kiss and or a hug can go a long way to provide comfort for you and your loved one.

Y: Yield

Keep to yourself and understand the role you play. You must include the person you are caring for in talks about their health care plan, even if you are the one giving them care.

Z: Zone

Every day will be different than the day before. Think and care with urgency, yet realizing you are caring for a human being. There are some tasks that are more important that others, and some that can wait until tomorrow.

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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.

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