Involving Your Family in the Management of Your COPD

Self-Care & Mental Health

husband and wife speaking with doctorA diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can be frightening to you and your family. Here are some ways to involve your family in managing your COPD and supporting your efforts to stay healthy:


  1. Bring family members with you to doctor appointments so they can learn about the disease with you.
  2. Ask your family members to help you take your medication as prescribed.
  3. If you are a current smoker, ask your family members to help you quit smoking.
  4. If you used to smoke, remind family members that it doesn't matter at this point what caused your COPD; what is most important is to stop smoking and move forward, managing your condition as best you can.
  5. If any family members smoke, remind them that you cannot be around secondhand or even thirdhand smoke—for example, the smell of smoke coming from clothing, car or house. Offer to help them get the help they need to quit.
  6. Arrange regular walks with a family member; stress that walks are important in your overall management of COPD.
  7. Provide family members with information and websites about COPD.
  8. Let family members know that you will do your best to remain active and participate in as many activities as possible, but also let them know that there will be times you need to rest or move more slowly than others.
  9. Ask for their patience and support.
  10. Ask family members to let you know if they think your symptoms are getting worse; you may not notice if they worsen gradually.
  11. Make annual flu shots a family affair.

This resource was created with the support of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

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