Living with COPD Series
Shopping with COPD
Shopping with COPD can be a relatively manageable task with some
planning. Here are some suggestions to help you plan your trip:
- If you use oxygen, be sure to take
it with you. Try to find a shopping cart on your way into the
store and place you oxygen carrier in the cart while you shop.
- Regardless if it is a short trip
or a long trip through a store, a cart is an excellent item to use
for carrying items, as well as extra support while walking.
- Check on the availability of a
handicap sticker for your vehicle. Use these parking spaces
- Try to plan your meals ahead of
time and use a grocery list.
- Use the same grocery store as much
as possible. Learn where things are located and plan your shopping
accordingly. This helps prevent unnecessary searching and extra
- Those of us who must shop alone
cannot avoid the aisles of laundry and cleaning products. If you
know what you want ahead of time and where it is located, it can
lessen the amount of time you have to spend there.
- Some smaller stores, including
grocery, drug, etc., provide a delivery service. Use them if you
feel a need.
- Buy items in plastic containers
instead of glass whenever possible. They are lighter to carry.
- Try to shop on days when stores
are less crowded. You will be able to shop at a much easier pace
and avoid large crowds, which may make you feel more closed in and
short of breath. In addition to the fact that the air in a crowded
store may be generally stuffy and unpleasant, you run less of a
risk of having people coughing and sneezing all around you.
- Pick a time of day when you are at
your best. Try to avoid times that are difficult for you,
especially the heat of midday or freezing winter mornings.
- Plan your shopping so that you
place all your frozen, refrigerated and perishable items in one
place in your cart.
- Unload your items at the checkout
the same way. Preferably with all your perishable items first.
- Whether you have to bag your own
groceries or someone does it for you, ask them to place all of
your items that need to be put away first in separate bags -- all
frozen, refrigerated and perishable items that will go bad or
- Ask people bagging your groceries
to try to keep your bags a little on the light side. It is much
easier for you to carry in when you get home.
- When you arrive home, it will only
be necessary to bring in those items that are perishable
first. The rest can wait if you need to rest, especially if you
have many steps to climb to access your home. Many items can even
remain in your car overnight if need be.
- If you have to walk a distance
when you get home, there are many foldable shopping carts on
wheels available on the market to help you.
- Use the available scooters in
stores, especially if walking is extremely difficult for you.
- If you have a great deal of
difficulty going out to shop, perhaps there is a friend,
neighbor or relative that would be willing to do it for you. Some
senior service agencies and churches will provide these kinds
of services on a volunteer-basis. Check
in your area for availability of these services.
- Call ahead for prescription
refills and use those with drive-up windows whenever possible.
- Many people use mail-order and
online pharmacies and find them very helpful and dependable. Much
depends on your type of medication insurance as well.
- Shopping for clothing can be an
exhausting experience even for those in the best of health. Know
your measurements, write them down on a file card and carry it
with you. Keep a small fabric measuring tape with you to check
items like slacks and skirts. This can help avoid tiring trips to
the dressing rooms. Know your stores return policy if the item
does not fit when you get it home.
- Shopping online can be a rewarding
and easy experience. If you find a particular brand or item that
you like and fits well, check for its availability online and use
the ease of computer-to-door shopping.
- Plan your shopping trips well and
try not to do a multitude of stops on one outing unless it works
for you. Often planning ahead may require a few different days
out, but will help eliminate the sense of exhaustion that can
accompany long trips out.
Compiled by COPD-International