If you keep a notebook, here are some pages that you can open and print (or download) which will help organization.

Caregivers Organizer

Medicine Chart

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  • Tips for our Caregivers

    For the dedicated folks who find themselves in the position of being caregivers for a loved one with COPD, we have compliled some tips which we hope will help you. They represent years of experience from our Caregivers in dealing with the daily stress and problems associated with Caregiving.

    In the COPD-Support Community, you can ask questions by subscribing to the COPD Email List, and/or the Forum - a Discussion Board which has a designated area for Caregivers.

  • Words of Wisdom from Elaine

    "In my caregiving experience, I had no one to talk to and when I did try to talk to someone, all I received was the normal platitudes and positive thinking quotes that are supposed to soothe.

    But they did not soothe at all, and I finally realized that the only person who could really understand the daily life of a caregiver was another caregiver."

    Start by finding support where you can interact with other caregivers.

    Elaine Rester - Former Program Manager for COPD-Support Caregivers

  •  box for...(uncheck to show less)
    • Organize organize organize.
      If your home is organized then you don't waste time finding things.
    • Cook large batches and freeze. My food saver purchase has been a life saver.
    • If you have many medications to manage, consider a pill dispenser/reminder.
    • Stay on top of meds and refills. O2 etc.
    • Keep a notebook (tabs help) with you at all times to record everything.
      You can also use a laptop, smart phone or tablet, but should be something you can take with you for trips to Doctor's office, hospital etc.
        Suggested information to track (can be tabs in your binder):
      • All phone numbers (family, ambulance, hospitals, physicans, drugstores, oxygen provider and any other emergency numbers you can think of)
      • Also hospitals often have social workers who can help connect you to services - get all the phone numbers you can for future reference.
      • Documentation of any insurance (including Medicare) and id numbers
      • List of physicans, addresses and phone numbers
      • Hospitals often have social workers who can help connect you to services.
      • List of medications, strengths, dosages, when and how often to take, and any alergic reactions; also include supplements and over-the-counter drugs (*be sure and keep up to date)
      • List of equipment used such as oxygen tank and nebulizer
      • Some patient history, especially if there are any other diseases
      • Legal Papers (*see Caregivers Organizer in the left column)
      • Create a Daily To-Do List and pat yourself on the back as you cross each entry off :)
      • Use Calendar to keep track of appointments
      • Area for questions for the Doctor on next visit
        Prioritize questions so you cover the most important questions first
        Find out who you can call if you have additional questions after your visit
      • Too much info is better than not enough!

    • Don't anticipate problems. If you spend your time worrying about something that doesn't happen then you have wasted your time.
    • Don't let chores and life overwhelm you.
      Just tackle one room at a time or one problem at a time. Give yourself a break. Rarely has dusty furniture killed anyone.
    • Don't neglect your own life. Though you will likely have difficulty scheduling time, try to plan your fun too. Have a night out with friends. Movie? Dinner? Shoot for at least once a week. Don't let burnout get you.
  • A Few Helpful Links

    Care Connection from AARP
     AgingCare.com - Caregiver Support - Connect with other Caregivers
     Caregiver Action Network - National Family Caregivers Association
     Next Step in Care - United Hospital Fund
     Family Caregiver Alliance - National Center on Caregiving
     Download Your State's Advance Directives - from Caring Info
     Caregivers Handbook - from PBS
     New Technology - from AARP
     Caregiver Tips - from Home Health Care Agencies
     Aging in Place - Renovating with independence in mind
     Caregivers Toolkit - Resource for Caregivers

  • Food Pharmaceuticals for your Arsenal

    Below are some foods that have been helpful to some COPDers. Not all work for everybody as we are all different, but depending on the circumstance might be worth a try.
    * On our video page, you can also see How and What to eat.

    Caffeine is a bronchodilator and widens the airways
    Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, cola drinks and cocoa.

    Hot, spicy foods promotes lung function
    Dr. Irwin Ziment, a professor of pulmonary medicine at the University of California School of Medicine at Los Angeles, advises his patients with chronic bronchitis and emphysema to eat hot spicy foods at least three times a week.
    * Beware though, many COPDers also have GERD and cannot tolerate spicy food.

    Vitamin D deficiency may worsen COPD symptoms
    The body makes its own vitamin D from sunlight, but a COPDer may not be getting enough sun exposure to meet their needs. Choose foods that are supplemented with vitamin D, as well as fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna. They can also take a vitamin D supplement. Talk to the doctor if you are concerned about how much vitamin D is needed; a simple blood test can determine any deficiency.

    Water - staying properly hydrated helps loosen phlegm
    The breathing difficulties of COPD can lead to dehydration. Staying properly hydrated makes mucus easier to cough up (which protects from infection) and keeps tissues throughout the body (especially the airways) more supple. Water is an excellent option, along with healthy beverages, soups, and most fruits.

  • Beware of Burnout

    Caregivers have come away from their duty with health problems and/or emotional problems. Active caregivers can find themselves busy with a life that is unstable. Never knowing what they are going to have to deal with on a daily basis. Some dealing with illness themselves but end up sacrificing their own health to take care of someone else. Many dealing with financial problems draining everything they have because of medical copay and expenses. How can you avoid these situations? Be as organized and prepared as possible and do everything you can to safeguard your physical and mental wellbeing.

    Here is one Caregiver's experience, that could help prepare you...
     Thrust into Caregiving: How to Adapt, Survive and Thrive.

    Take care of yourself...
     5 Caregiver Relaxation Tips from Nurses in the Know

    And continually watch for signs of burnout.  6 Signs of Caregiver Burnout.

    When you need a morale boost, ask yourself "How will I look back at this time in my life years from now?" Shift your perspective to some future post-caregiving vantage point from which you can regard yourself now. This can help you more accurately see and appreciate the good work you're doing, despite however difficult it may seem to you each day.

    "Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." - Kierkegaard

  • It is impossible to say 'THANK YOU' enough