COPD Tips: How to Communicate Better with Your COPD Care Partner

COPD Tips: How to Communicate Better with Your COPD Care Partner

It began with your inner circle, those closest to you, and has gradually been spreading outward to friends and acquaintances. Sharing your COPD diagnosis and knowing how to answer the many questions that arise about it can be uncomfortable – for you, and for those you’re speaking with as well.

Surprisingly, you may find that the greatest challenges come in communicating with your primary care partner – the person who is closest to you. The caregiver/care receiver relationship can raise a variety of emotions. The person on the receiving end of care may feel self-conscious and insecure as a result of needing assistance, which can lead to feelings of anger, sadness, and frustration, just to name a few. The caregiver may feel incapable of meeting all of the required needs, regretful for mistakes made, and downright exhausted from trying to manage someone else’s care needs with their own.

There are some key ways to improve communication with your care partner:

  • Make sure you’re both fully educated about COPD, the associated symptoms and treatment options, and its typical progression. The doctor can provide COPD tips and resources for both of you to better understand what you are facing.
  • Don’t beat around the bush. Clearly and honestly express your feelings and needs.
  • Listen to the other person – and let them know they’re being heard. Maintain eye contact, nod or use other nonverbal cues to show you’re paying attention.
  • Be assertive without being controlling. Your feelings are valid and deserve to be shared in a constructive way without lashing out at the other person.
  • Avoid argumentative words and phrases, such as, “You always…” or “You never…” The person is likely to become defensive and hurt feelings will intensify.
  • Remind yourself that no one is a mind-reader. If you’re assuming your care partner knows what you’re thinking or how you’re feeling simply by your actions, it opens the door to misunderstandings.
  • Always maintain respect and empathy for one another. 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 good idea to call a time-out if emotions begin to escalate. Take a break from each other and focus 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 Amy’s Helping Hands, the leading provider of home care in Windsor, Ontario and the surrounding areas, we understand the frustrations that can arise when battling a chronic health condition like COPD, and we’re here to help. Our friendly caregivers make great companions to talk with and spend time with, engaging in enjoyable activities together. We work with family caregivers to ensure they have time needed for self-care, while enriching the lives of the seniors they care for. Contact us online any time or call 519-915-4370 to learn more about our in-home care services.