Pulmonary fibrosis is a life-changing disease that has a high mortality rate. You do not want to see a loved one fade away and withdraw from life after receiving this diagnosis. There are ways you can help. Here are five tips to help pulmonary fibrosis sufferers cope with life.
Make Contact Regularly and Be Available
The first tip is to make contact regularly with your loved one and be available whenever you can. A real problem that many people with pulmonary fibrosis face is isolation. Being alone all the time with nothing but your thoughts about the disease can make everything worse. Make an effort to talk to the person regularly. You should also be open and available so that your loved one can contact you in times of need.
Be Constructive and Positive Without Ignoring the Disease
About 14 to 27 people out of every 100,000 get pulmonary fibrosis. The key to overcoming the disease is remaining positive. You want your interactions with the person to be positive, constructive and hopeful. You also do not want to ignore the realities of the disease. Do not gloss over worsening symptoms or bad news. Be realistic but show grounded optimism. This will make what you say more meaningful and will help that person cope with life better.
Encourage Being Active and Socializing
Although pulmonary fibrosis can limit what someone is able to do physically, it does not always prevent people from being active in some way. Try to encourage your loved one to get out, be active and socialize. You want that person to remain a part of the living, breathing world. Being active and talking to people will provide an escape from just sitting and thinking about the disease. Doing this regularly gives your loved one something to look forward to every day or week. This is a very effective way to overcome feelings of depression and hopelessness.
Mirror, Accept and Encourage Necessary Lifestyle Changes
People with pulmonary fibrosis have a 20 to 40 percent survival rate after five years. The survivors make lifestyle changes and undergo treatment to fight the disease. You can help the person cope by mirroring, accepting and encouraging any necessary lifestyle changes. Your loved one might have to do a light exercise routine every day, eat certain healthy foods and do oxygen therapy. Take part in those behaviors, accept them happily and make them part of your time together. This makes it easier to see the daily routine as normal.
Educate Yourself about the Disease
A final step is to educate yourself about the disease. Learn about the progression, treatments and symptoms. This will allow you to better understand what is going on. You might also be able to help with treatments. You will know what to expect in the future. A little education about pulmonary fibrosis will make you a more valuable resource when your loved one needs help coping with life.