Visiting the Beach with COPD
Recently my family took a trip to the beach. As we were walking on the beach, I thought about how much my mom loved it there. Unfortunately, she didn’t go very much after her COPD became more difficult to manage. It was too hard for her to walk in the sand, and that was part of what she loved the most. She loved walking the beach, picking up sea shells. Mom loved the beach more than any other type of location. It was a place that made her smile, and she seemed to shine more when she was there.
Here are a few things that I wish I had known about traveling to the beach.
1. Beach Wheelchairs!
Since my mom went to heaven, we have seen special wheelchairs at almost every beach that we have visited. These were not around (that I am aware of) when we took my mom. If only I had known about these chairs, it would have been a game changer. These chairs make it possible to get through the soft sand, down to the more packed sand, where some people may still be able to walk.
2. Packed Sand
There are some beaches that have sand that is more packed and easier to walk on than others. When mom and I would go to the beach together, we usually went to the same beach that she would take me when I was younger. We took mom to that beach just a couple years before she left for heaven, but she could not walk through the sand. It was too loosely packed, and she was afraid that once she got down to the water, her energy would be so spent that she would not make it back.
Set up an umbrella and chairs. We had never used an umbrella. I’m really not sure why we didn’t. We would take chairs and maybe a cooler, but an umbrella was just not in our usual beach gear. Mom went down to the beach one time during that last trip. Part of the reason that she only went down once was because the medications that she was taking made her skin very sensitive to the sun. I offered to get an umbrella for the next day, but she was determined that we would not spend extra money on that.
Take more pictures that you are comfortable taking. I only took one photo of my mom sitting in the sand on the beach during that trip. I just really thought that she would go back down to the beach, but she decided that it was better to stay in the condo and watch from the balcony. I only have a few photos of her during the entire trip, and I wish that I had taken so many more.
You can still have a wonderful trip to the beach with just a little extra planning. Make a phone call to the resort or rental service to find out how to rent a beach wheelchair. Sometimes just planning ahead and having it already taken care of will bring comfort to try it. Take or rent an umbrella and chairs. It really is worth it when you’re dealing with sensitive skin. Oh, and don’t forget the sunscreen! Above all get out there and make more memories.
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