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Chronic Lung Disease: Notes for Family and Friends

Being close to someone with chronic lung disease will likely mean some changes in your life. As your loved one copes with chronic lung disease, you may be asked to be a helper, caregiver, or source of support.

Helpful tips

Here are general tips to follow: 

  • Learn as much as you can about chronic lung disease. This will help you know what to expect. It will also show you ways that you can help.

  • Talk with your loved one’s healthcare team. Ask any questions you have. Make sure you understand your role in treatment.

  • Spend time with your loved one. Take time to talk and to do things you both enjoy.

  • Ask your healthcare provider about joining a local VA support group.

Tips for caregivers

Caregivers' tips include the following: 

  • Keep in mind that you can’t take good care of someone else if you don’t take care of yourself, too. Take breaks when you need them. Considering your own needs is not selfish, it’s vital.

  • You may want to do things for your loved one to help save time. But let them do some things for themselves. This can help your loved one feel involved and independent. Encourage your loved one to stick with old hobbies or try new ones as directed by their healthcare provider. And ask friends to visit if your loved one agrees.

  • Encourage them to eat right and maintain a healthy weight.

  • Watch for signs of depression in your loved one. These include trouble sleeping and loss of interest in activities, food, or people. They also include talk about feeling hopeless or very sad. If you see these signs, tell your loved one’s healthcare provider. Encourage them to stay positive.

  • Watch for depression in yourself. If you feel sad, guilty, tired, hopeless, or helpless most of the time, talk with your healthcare provider. Depression can and should be treated.

  • Encourage them to get vaccinated as directed by their healthcare provider.

  • Breathe in clean air. Encourage them to quit smoking, if they smoke. Make sure they are not around anyone who smokes or around secondhand smoke.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

For more information and support with quitting tobacco

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 1/15/2007
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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