Chronic Lung Disease, Day-to-Day Care: for Caregivers
With chronic lung disease, even getting in and out of bed can make breathing difficult. Coping with the physical limitations of this disease can be a challenge for both patient and caregiver. But you can each take steps to simplify your daily routine.
Being active and eating right helps you both stay healthy.
Here are some ideas:
Encourage each other to stay active. Pulmonary rehab staff teaches patients suitable exercises to do. You can also be active together. For instance, take a walk to get oxygen moving through your whole body.
Get help planning and preparing meals. People with chronic lung disease may have special dietary needs. When both of you need a break, ask family or friends to help cook. Or, consider using a meal delivery service.
Making Living Spaces Safe
Even a few changes can make home life safer. Try these tips:
In the bathroom, modify the shower or tub for safety. Get a waterproof stool and handheld water nozzle. Install grab bars to make getting in and out easier.
In the bedroom, keep a nightstand or other furniture near the bed. Place medications, water, and important items on it for easy reach.
In the kitchen, make sure items that you use often, such as dishes and silverware, are within reach.
Along hallways, install handrails for support. Also, keep hallways, stairs, and doorways clear and well lighted.
If You or Your Loved One Smokes
Smoking worsens symptoms and harms health. If either of you smokes, it’s time to stop. Speak with a health care provider or call the American Lung Association to learn about smoking cessation programs. Also, try the following:
Ask about medications or replacement therapy (nicotine patch or gum). These can help decrease the urge to smoke.
Make a list of reasons to quit. Keep the list handy and read it often.
List the places, feelings, and things that prompt the urge to smoke. Think of ways to avoid these triggers.