Discussing a COPD Diagnosis: How to Communicate Well with Those You Love
It began with those in your inner circle, and it has gradually been spreading outward to friends and acquaintances. Discussing a COPD diagnosis and knowing how to reply to the various questions that arise about it could be uncomfortable – for you personally, and for those you are speaking with as well.
Surprisingly, you could find that the largest challenges come in speaking with your primary caregiving partner – the individual who is closest to you. The caregiver/care receiver relationship can bring up a number of emotions. The individual on the receiving end of care may feel self-conscious and insecure as a result of needing assistance, which may result in 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 fatigued from trying to handle someone else’s care needs with their own.
There are several key techniques to improve communication with your caregiving partner:
- Make sure you are both completely knowledgeable about COPD, the corresponding symptoms and treatment plans, as well as its typical progression. The doctor can offer educational materials for both of you to better understand what you are facing.
- Don’t beat around the bush. Honestly and clearly express your emotions and needs.
- Listen to your partner – and let them know they’re being heard. Maintain eye contact, nod or use other nonverbal indicators to demonstrate you’re listening.
- Be assertive without being controlling. Your emotions are valid and deserve to be shared in a constructive way without lashing out at the other person.
- Avoid argumentative phrases and words, such as, “You always…” or “You never…”. The individual is probably going to become defensive, intensifying hurt feelings.
- Remind yourself that no one is a mind-reader. If you are assuming your caregiving partner knows what you’re thinking or how you’re feeling simply by your actions, it opens the door to misunderstandings.
- Maintain empathy and respect for each other. You both are facing new and evolving challenges, and will both make mistakes. A little grace will go a long way.
It’s also a wise idea to call a time-out if emotions start to intensify. Take a break from one another and concentrate 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 Responsive Home Care, we understand the frustrations that can arise when managing a chronic health condition like COPD, and we’re available to help. Our friendly caregivers make ideal companions to talk with and to spend time with, engaging in enjoyable activities together. We work with family caregivers to make sure they have time required for self-care, while enhancing the lives of the seniors for whom they care. Contact us any time to find out more about our home care in Plantation and throughout the area.