When you’re caring for someone living with chronic lung disease, it’s important to have the resources and information you need to support your loved one in living a full and active life with his or her diagnosis. Small changes that you can implement to your loved one’s habits and behavior can make their life more enjoyable:
- Increase emotional health: Help your loved one maintain a positive outlook by finding new ways to enjoy the hobbies and activities they enjoyed before the onset of breathing problems.
- Develop an exercise plan: Exercise improves both body strength and attitude. Consult with your loved one's physician or physical therapist about a practical lung, heart and muscle-improving exercise schedule, and stick with it.1 Go on walks with your loved one, and encouraging exercise at his or her level, even if it's just a few steps daily.
- Maintain a sanitary environment: Help prevent contagious illnesses with frequent hand-washing. Wash your own hands often and remind your loved one to do the same. Stay away from people with the flu or colds. Ask your loved one's doctor about flu and pneumonia shots. He might recommend that your loved one get both.
- Spend quality time together: Chronic lung disease can cause limitations to activities and isolate your loved one from others, but social relationships can have an incredible effect on the overall quality of life of someone with chronic lung disease.
- Increase nutrition: Plan and serve nutritious meals for your loved one with protein, fruit and vegetables. Make sure that your loved one drinks plenty of liquids—unless their doctor advises against it.
- Discuss an emergency plan: Have an emergency plan ready, and know when to use it. Decide in advance which hospital you'll go to, and keep emergency phone numbers nearby. Explain the plan to family members, friends and neighbors. Get additional guidelines from the doctor.
For customized tips, talk to your loved one’s physician for suggestions on dietary and exercise adjustments to help them stay active and healthy.
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