Giving Care

Lifestyle Tips

There's more to managing COPD than medication alone. As a caregiver, there are many things you can do to help your loved one, from keeping track of how their symptoms progress to simplifying everyday tasks. Explore some of the things you can do below, and download our Caregiver's Guide to learn more about giving care.

COPD is underreported, and the disease often goes unrecognized until people are very ill. Many smokers delay seeking treatment for “smoker’s cough” because they dread receiving bad news. If you believe your loved one may have COPD, please see a doctor to get evaluated.

Approximately 24 million people in the U.S. may have COPD with as many as 12 million undiagnosed.

What you don't know may make it harder to care for your loved one. Being aware of symptoms and risk factors — like shortness of breath and smoking — will help you and your loved one communicate with your loved one's doctor to manage the disease.

Visit our COPD section to learn more, or download our Caregiver’s Guide.

Download Caregiver's Guide

49% of caregivers feel stressed at doctor’s appointments because they don’t know enough about COPD treatments.

Get to know your loved one's treatment team and make sure to maintain open lines of communication with them. You can help by making sure that a doctor regularly reviews your loved one's COPD management plan. And be sure to also help your loved one keep up with that plan.

You may find it helpful to keep a log of how your loved one feels day to day. Bringing these notes to the doctor's office can help the doctor see how your loved one's COPD is progressing. Download our My Diary tool to help track your loved one's symptoms.

Download My Diary

74% of COPD caregivers say that their loved one’s doctor values their role as a caregiver and recognizes that they are critical to their loved one’s health and welfare.

Keeping track of a loved one's COPD can help you anticipate what kinds of symptoms are likely and help you and your loved one talk with healthcare professionals.

By using our downloadable My Diary tool, you can help track how your loved one's COPD symptoms progress day to day.

Download My Diary

76% of COPD caregivers feel that they play an important role in the discussion of potential treatments because they know what to expect.

Survey funded by Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc.

  • Organize the house so that frequently used objects are in easy reach for your loved one

  • Lend a hand with tasks that your loved one may find tiring, such as cooking, cleaning, or doing laundry

  • Arrange haircuts, dental visits, and eye exams, and organize transportation to and from these appointments

  • Help your loved one set up their medicine if they use a device; if you’re not familiar with the medical equipment your loved one uses, your pharmacist may be able to instruct you

  • If your loved one smokes, offer support in helping them to quit—it's one of the most impactful things one can do to manage COPD

  • Encourage outdoor activities and hobbies when possible

  • Work with their healthcare provider to set up an exercise or fitness program for your loved one

  • Help your loved one take their medication as prescribed, and offer to fill and pick up refills from the pharmacy

  • Have family and friends visit in person or call on the phone; this can provide a welcome break for you as well as for your loved one

  • Find encouragement and support from a COPD support group in your area or online

  • Ask family members and close friends to get involved—the larger your shared care team, the better

  • Help your loved one find a local club or group for something they’re interested in

Stay Informed

Sign up with COPD Together to receive more information about COPD, caregiving and treatment.

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