Living With COPD: Tips to More Effectively Communicate About Your Diagnosis

It began with those in your inner circle, and it has gradually been spreading outward to good friends and acquaintances. Revealing that you are living with a COPD diagnosis and knowing how to answer the various questions that arise about it may be uncomfortable – for you personally, and for those you are speaking with as well.

Interestingly, you could find that the greatest challenges are in communicating with your primary caregiving partner – the person who is closest to you personally. The caregiver/care receiver relationship can bring up many different emotions. The person on the receiving end of care may feel insecure and self-conscious as a consequence of requiring assistance, which could bring about feelings of anger and frustration, just to name a few. The care provider may feel incapable of meeting each of the required needs, regretful for mistakes made, and downright worn-out from trying to take care of someone else’s care needs with their own.

There are some key techniques to improve communication with your care partner:

  • Make sure you’re both fully informed about COPD, the corresponding symptoms and treatment options, together with its typical progression. The doctor can provide educational materials for both of you to more fully understand what you are facing.
  • Do not beat around the bush. Honestly and clearly express your feelings and needs.
  • Listen to the other person – and let them know they’re being heard. Maintain eye contact, nod or use other nonverbal indicators to show you are listening. 
  • Be assertive without being controlling. Your feelings are valid and deserve to be discussed in a constructive way without lashing out at the other individual.
  • Avoid argumentative words and phrases, such as, “You never…” or “You always…”. The person will probably become defensive and hurt feelings will intensify.
  • Remember that no one is a mind-reader. If you’re assuming your care partner knows what you’re thinking or how you are feeling simply by your actions, it opens the door to misconceptions. 
  • Maintain empathy and respect for each other. You both are facing uncharted territory and evolving challenges, and will both make mistakes. A little grace will go a long way.

It is also a wise idea to call a time-out if emotions start to escalate. Take a break from one another and focus on calming activities, such as reading, listening to music, exercising, or writing in a journal. When you both feel calmer, try the conversation again.

At Seniorcorp, we understand the frustrations that may develop when dealing with a chronic health condition like COPD, and we’re available to help. Our friendly caregivers make great companions to talk with and spend time with, engaging in pleasant activities together. We work with family caregivers to make certain they have time required for self-care, while enriching the lives of the seniors for whom they care. Get in touch with us any time at 757-640-0557 to learn more about our award-winning home health care in Portsmouth and the nearby areas.