When you wake up in the morning, do you feel excited about the day ahead or do you dread getting up and trying to accomplish your activities of daily living such as grooming, cleaning, or making meals?
A patient said to me recently; people with healthy lungs take basic tasks for granted, they can’t imagine how difficult simple things can be for someone with COPD.
After a very interesting conversation with this gentleman on how he deals with day to day activities, I thought it would be a great idea to share tricks and tips that not only from copd patients on oxygen therapy but from carers’ family members and experiences from myself.
Learning to accomplish these tasks more efficiently will help you to do more with less discomfort from shortness of breath and fatigue. Try some of the ideas in this section, but remember always take your breathing medication and wear your oxygen.
- Do as much as possible while sitting this conserves energy.
- Lay your clothes out the day before on a dresser or nightstand.
- Get dressed whilst sitting on the bed or in a straight-backed chair.
- Invest in a long-handled shoehorn – bending may cause you to become short of breath.
- Be sure to buy shoes that are easy to slip on.
- Create a user-friendly bedroom
- Organize your clothes so they are easy to reach, avoid bottom drawers.
- Choose easy to fasten clothing or that slips over the head easily.
- Swap quilts, comforters, or pillows replace with Linen that is lightweight.
- If you get cold invest in an electric blanket rather than a heavy down-filled quilt.
Bathing and Showering
- If possible have your bathtub converted into a walk-in shower stall.
- Avoid lying down in the bath as it may be difficult to get up.
- A bath bench will allow you to sit while bathing, conserving energy.
- Installing grab bars will make getting in and out of the shower or bath.
- Purchase a shower or bath organiser-make sure all shampoos and soaps are at hand.
- Try sitting at all times when applying makeup, doing your hair or shaving.
- Lower mirrors in the bathroom or purchase a free standing one for the kitchen table.
- Avoid aerosol grooming products.
- Avoid strong fragrances, as they may irritate the lungs.
In the Kitchen
- Store utensils, plates, cups and other used items in cupboards within easy reach.
- Use electrical appliances such as can openers to conserve energy.
- The addition of a microwave will allow you to heat food up, saving time.
- Making extra food and freezing simple meal portions saves time and precious energy.
- Do meal preparation while sitting at the kitchen table.
- Do slicing, grating, chopping and peeling sitting down at a table using a tabletop board.
- Devise a plan – remember you are not running the one hundred yard dash.
- Divide your tasks into manageable blocks – bathroom on Saturday – Kitchen on Monday
- Purchase a little pushchair to help carry your cleaning products.
- Be careful using cleaning products – fumes may irritate your lungs.
- When dusting wear a mask – to prevent dust particles causing bronchospasm and shortness of breath.