Finding the COPD support you need
Managing a chronic condition like COPD isn’t something easy to take on alone. Whether you need help with your treatment routine, everyday activities, or you just want to connect with others, there’s support to help you live your life with COPD.
Start by building a core support system
Having a core group of family, friends, and healthcare providers you can rely on can help you take on even the toughest days.
Reach out to family and friends
It’s easy to assume that family and friends will reach out to you, but sometimes they may feel awkward asking if you need help. They also may not know how to be of assistance. So let them know you need support, and be specific about how they can help you.
You might ask them to:
- Go with you or take you to doctor’s appointments
- Take notes at your medical appointments so you can remember all of your healthcare provider’s instructions
- Remind you when you need to take your medications
- Remind you to refill your medication, or help you set up automatic refills with the pharmacy
- Help with household chores and errands like grocery shopping, cleaning, and cooking
- Make household items more accessible for you — like rearranging items in cupboards and cabinets, or setting up a room for you on the ground floor so you don’t have to climb the stairs
- Check in with you every now and then to see how you’re feeling and how you’re managing your routine
Partner with your healthcare team
Your healthcare team includes your primary care physician as well as specialists, such as a pulmonologist, respiratory therapist, pharmacists, and nurses.
You can help your team help you by giving them the information they need to provide the best possible care for you. Get tips for talking with your doctor plus learn what to bring to every appointment.
Connect with others: join COPD support groups
Joining a support group can help you learn new ways to take on challenges, and you may even make new friends. Even if you’re not ready to share information about yourself, you can learn a lot by simply listening to others.
Here are some groups to consider:
An online support group sponsored by the COPD Foundation. Here you can find the latest news on COPD, share your thoughts and ideas, ask questions, start discussions, and communicate with thought leaders and community managers.
The official online home of EFFORTS (Emphysema Foundation For Our Right To Survive), where you’ll find a vast array of educational resources, information on clinical trials, and the latest news on treatments for emphysema and COPD.
Better Breathers Club
A national network backed by the American Lung Association, the Better Breathers Club connects you to in-person adult support groups led by trained facilitators who can help you learn how to thrive, even with COPD.
Freedom From Smoking
Backed by the American Lung Association, this proven program can help you quit smoking even if you’ve tried before without success.
Lung Cancer Survivors
A support community for lung cancer patients and caregivers, backed by the American Lung Association. If you are a lung cancer patient with COPD, you may be able to learn from others and find out about treatments, genetic testing, immunotherapy, clinical trials, and more.
Learn more with these organizations and websites
Find out about clinical trials for people with COPD and the latest developments in treatment, plus get helpful tools and support.
Check out these sites for helpful information:
Airways Clinical Research Centers (ACRC)
See what clinical trials are available close to your home.
CenterWatch is a global source and destination for clinical trials information.
My COPD Action Plan
Need help creating your personal COPD plan? Try this online guide. Print out the worksheet, fill in your responses, and take it with you to your next doctor appointment.
The official website of the American Lung Association, which works to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through research, education, and advocacy.
Get social: join these online COPD communities
Learn from experts and educators, as well as others like you. Share your insights and information, too.
COPD: Learn More, Breathe Better®
Backed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, this group helps increase awareness of COPD and offers education and insights to help you manage your symptoms.
A community-based organization dedicated to improving the lives of those affected by COPD.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
This group focuses on the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders, as well as ways to live a healthier life.
Managing COPD? There’s an app for that
Check out these apps to help you live a healthier life with COPD.
Need help quitting smoking? Use this app to help you get through the tough moments and reach for your goals. Track cravings, get motivational tips, and more.
Freedom From Smoking® Online
Busy schedule? Try this online version of group clinics offered by the American Lung Association. The flexible online format is includes nine sessions over a six week period as well as engaging activities, content, and tools. Telephone and online chat support is provided too.
Symple Symptom Tracker App
Symple is an easy way to track symptoms, monitor your health, and share an overview of your symptoms with your healthcare provider.
EPA AIRNow App
Provides location-specific reports on current air quality, as well as forecasts for both ozone and fine particle pollution.