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Chronic Illness: Help for Caregivers

Table of Contents


Overview

Helping or caring for a loved one with a long-term (chronic) condition, such as COPD or heart failure, can feel like a lot to take on.

Sometimes it can be hard for people to accept help. Or they may choose not to accept help. So you may have to adjust the way you think, ask, listen, and respond. These tips might help.

Helping your loved one decide to quit smoking

You can gently encourage someone who uses tobacco to quit. Think of your comments as only one event that may move that person toward quitting.

Helping your loved one conserve energy

Cooking dinner, putting away laundry, or even just walking across the living room can be exhausting for a person who has COPD, heart failure, or another long-term (chronic) condition.

When helping your loved one, be patient. And let your loved one do as much on his or her own as possible.

To help your loved one get tasks done more easily and with as little effort as possible, encourage your loved one to:

Helping your loved one get enough to eat and not lose weight

COPD, heart failure, and other long-term (chronic) conditions can make it hard to eat enough and stay at a healthy weight. Losing weight means losing muscle mass. This includes the muscles that help with breathing. It can make it harder for your loved one to breathe.

Here are some ways to help your loved one stay at a healthy weight.

Taking care of yourself when you're a caregiver

Taking care of yourself is your most important step as a caregiver. Caregiving can be stressful, even in the best of situations. Here are some important things you need to find time to do—just for yourself.


References

Citations

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2018). Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd ed. https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition. Accessed July 9, 2018.

Credits for Chronic Illness: Help for Caregivers

Current as of: March 9, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine


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