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This information was reviewed and approved by Kristen E. Holm, PhD, MPH (3/1/2019).

With chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), you may feel less able to do many of the tasks that you have always done for yourself. It's important to recognize that, even if it is only from your doctor, you do need help. Finding and accepting help is an important part of caring for yourself. People vary in the amount of support they need from time to time, and they vary in their ability to accept help. It may help to remind yourself that relationships involve both “give” and “take” over time. There are likely people you have helped in the past, and these people would like the opportunity to help you in return.

Take some time to think about the following questions and write down your answers:

  • Is there someone who has been trying to help that you've turned down?

  • What makes it hard for you to ask for or accept help from others?

  • Are you able to tell people what kind of help you need (for example, a home-cooked meal versus a listening ear)?

  • Can you think of some other sources of support you haven't utilized? How about support groups? Extended family? Religious community?

If you have a hard time accepting help, it will be important for you to examine — and challenge — your beliefs that get in the way of accepting help. The people who care about you want to help you. When you allow the people around you to help, they are likely to feel good about being useful. 

Step 4: COPD as a Family

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