Finding support for you and someone you care for.
Here are steps to knowing more.
Caring for someone with a chronic disease isn’t easy. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with all the things you need to know and do, we can help you get the information you need.
UNDERSTAND HOW COPD AFFECTS THE ONE YOU CARE FOR
The more you know about COPD signs and symptoms, the more you may be able to help.
Whether you’re caring for someone who has already been diagnosed or suspect that they may have COPD, it’s important to be aware of COPD signs and symptoms and help the one you care for keep their doctor informed.
If you think the person you care for may have chronic breathing problems, encourage them to make an appointment with their doctor as soon as possible. Before they go, it’s helpful to learn how COPD is diagnosed and what tests they may need.
KNOW HOW COPD IS TREATED
When the one you care for is given a treatment plan, their doctor may prescribe more than one medicine to control the symptoms of COPD, so it’s important to know what each COPD medicine does and how it should be administered.
Typically, they will be prescribed both a rescue inhaler for quick, temporary relief and a daily maintenance inhaler to help them breathe better throughout the day. Know that each inhaler is different and that one may not replace the other.
If the person you care for is prescribed a daily COPD maintenance inhaler, you may want to ask their doctor about these different types:
- Monotherapy – delivers 1 medicine in 1 inhaler.
- Dual therapy – the use of 2 medicines to treat COPD. Depending on the prescription, these medicines may be delivered using 1 or 2 inhalers.
- Triple therapy – the use of 3 medicines to treat COPD. Depending on the prescription, these medicines may be delivered using 1 or 2 inhalers.
It’s also important to know that COPD is a progressive disease and symptoms may worsen over time, requiring a treatment change. You can do your part by encouraging them to keep their doctor informed about any worsening symptoms and stay up to date on the latest treatments.
LEARN HOW TO HELP THE ONE YOU CARE FOR, AND YOURSELF
One of the best things you can do as a caregiver is to help the one you care for stay committed to their treatment plan.
Here are some ways you can help them stay on course:
- Schedule and go with them to each doctor appointment. Offer to bring them if they need help with transportation.
- Encourage them to communicate with different specialists on their team.
- Take notes at doctor appointments.
- Encourage them to speak up about all of their symptoms and concerns.
- Help them take their medication exactly as prescribed.
- Encourage and help them to work toward their health and activity goals.
It’s also important to know how to take care of yourself, so you can be there for them and live your own life, too.
GET SUPPORT FOR BOTH OF YOU
The more support you have, the more you may be able to help yourself and the one you care for live healthier, more balanced lives.
In addition to their healthcare team, try reaching out to other family members and friends, as well as caregiver support groups, COPD organizations, and even social networks. There are experts, healthcare professionals, and even other caregivers who are ready and able to provide support.
Not sure where to start? We can help you get connected.