Managing COPD While Living on a Fixed Income

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Managing COPD While Living on a Fixed Income

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a group of incurable respiratory conditions in which sufferers experience a compromised flow of oxygen to the lungs, whether from chronic bronchitis narrowing the airways or from emphysema diminishing lung capacity.

Living with COPD presents additional challenges. Between medications, medical devices, and hospital stays as a result of exacerbations or flare-ups, managing this condition can carry a sizable price tag. Further compounding the issues is that many people with a diagnosis of COPD are in their retirement years. They are relying on their Social Security payments, pensions, or distributions from individual retirement accounts—what we refer to as a fixed income. This often means living on a tight budget from week to week.

Managing COPD while living on a fixed income can be daunting, but with the right adjustments, you can still manage your health and budget.

Try To Save On Oxygen Concentrators

You know the adage about used cars: a car loses half its value the moment it drives off the lot. While that isn’t true in every case, buying a pre-owned vehicle does represent significant savings over one that’s fresh from the factory. The same principle comes into play with oxygen concentrators, which can be necessary for breathing with COPD. When shopping for concentrators, whether stationary or portable, explore purchasing a used or refurbished unit. While there are pros and cons, buying pre-owned could help you live within your means.

Eat Better: Less Delivery

A change to your diet that cuts out high-sodium, high-carb fast food and carryout options represents a two-part improvement to your condition and finances. Most obviously, cooking at home will cost less money. Moreover, a healthier diet that you mostly prepare on your own or with assistance from family will increase your quality of life and reduce the risk of your condition declining—the less money you can spend on the hospital, the better, even with Medicare.

Smoking? It’s Time To Quit

Nothing is more counterproductive to managing COPD while living on a fixed income than continuing to purchase cigarettes. The many harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage bronchial and lung tissue, and do so at a high financial cost to the smoker. Smoking cessation improves your quality of life and puts money back into your pocket, making navigating your life on a budget that much easier.

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