How to Support Your Loved One | American Lung Association

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How to Support Your Loved One

As the caregiver of someone with lung cancer, you are focused on your loved one's needs and well-being. It's often easy to forget that caregivers have needs too, and balancing your loved one's needs with your own can be difficult. By seeking support and giving attention to your own health, you can keep well and even be a better caregiver.

Stay Healthy

Taking care of your own health also helps keep your loved on healthy. Stay up to date on your flu and pneumonia vaccinations, try to eat right and exercise, and make sure you get enough sleep.

Lean on Others

Most people want to help you and your family—they just don't know how. Take advantage of the support people offer so you can get a break from caregiving. Ask people to drop off meals, assist with errands or even just spend some time sitting with your loved one so you can enjoy some personal time. Use tools like the Lung Association's Caregiving Community to update your loved ones and organize their help.

Be Your Loved One's Eyes and Ears

Your loved one might feel too overwhelmed during doctors' appointments to ask the right questions and understand everything the doctor says. As a caregiver, your role in helping the patient stay organized is invaluable. Take good notes, ask questions and even request an appointment just for you and the doctor if there are things you'd like to discuss outside of the normal appointment time.

Encourage Your Loved One to Seek Palliative Care

Palliative care, also sometimes known as supportive care, helps patients feel their best, physically and emotionally, during treatment. It's often misunderstood as care only given at the end of life, but palliative care is appropriate, and often recommended, at the start of treatment.

Think about the Future

Many people spend all of their energy just trying to stay well during treatment. They might not be thinking about what needs to happen so they can continue to get the care they need and want, such has filling out an advance directive. Palliative care teams can help with this, but the caregiver can also begin to have important conversations with their loved one about the future so that decisions about the patient's well-being are made in advance.

    Resources
    Webpage Resource

    Ask the Expert: Making Meaning of Your Diagnosis

    Learn more
    PDF Download

    Palliative Care Worksheet

    Download
    PDF Download

    Life Planning Worksheet

    Download
    Webpage Resource

    Navigating Lung Cancer: Stories of Support

    Learn more

    Approved by Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed November 3, 2016.

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