Updated 17 September 2014

COPD, your social life and keeping busy

We all need friends, whether we are ill or not, whether we are young or old, whether we are single or married.


We all need friends, whether we are ill or not, whether we are young or old, whether we are single or married. Friends are people with whom you can relax, have fun, do things and talk.

Join the club. Find out what clubs there are in your area and make the effort to join one of them. Obviously with COPD, you will have to go for the less strenuous options, such as a bridge club or a film club.

Get a lifeline. The telephone is a great comfort to people who live alone or who are ill. This means others can easily get hold of you and you can call them if you need help. Getting involved in a phone buddy system where people phone each other at a set time each day, could also be a great comfort.

Join a supper club. A couple of friends can get together, each bringing something. In this way the burden of cooking does not fall on one person's shoulders.

Get mobile. Even more helpful is a cellphone or a cordless phone, which you can carry around with you – even to the bathroom. Make sure it is always charged.

Get to know your neighbours. These people are often closest in a crisis and can help you when you suddenly may need assistance. Work out some signalling system if you are in distress, such as pounding on the wall, if you live in a flat.

Panic stations. A panic button or emergency alarm could bring paramedic staff to your home if you need them. It is probably worth investing in something like this if you are living by yourself.

You won't get bored with boardgames. From Monopoly to Scrabble, to Checkers – the list is endless. Card games can also be very entertaining and if you feel daring, you can even risk a rand or two on them!

Join a chess club. If you enjoy chess at all, this is a good way to amuse yourself and also to meet people.

What a puzzle! Jigsaw puzzles can provide hours of entertainment and give a real sense of accomplishment when finished.

Between the covers. Rediscover reading. This does not have to be expensive, as you can get wonderful books from the library or from secondhand bookshops. Bazaars or flea markets often also have bargain book stalls. Join a book club or start your own.

Get on the net. The internet can provide you with endless hours of amusement. It is also an effortless way to stay in touch with your friends via e-mail. You can also get into contact with other people who have COPD. If necessary, you can also do a very basic course on how to use your computer, should you need it.

Correspondence courses. If there has always been something you wanted to learn, now is the time. If you do one of these, you will not even have to leave home.

Pet pals. A boisterous dog is not a good idea, but what about a cat? That is if you're not allergic. Cats make wonderful companions and they don't require to be taken for strenuous walks.

- (Susan Erasmus, Health24)


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