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Resources for Assistance with Household Tasks

Since the symptoms of COPD can be varied and debilitating, including shortness of breath during daily activities, it can often be a challenge for those with the condition to complete their everyday tasks, like household chores. We recently conducted our 2018 COPD In America survey to find out how COPD impacts those who have it. We received responses from over 2,000 individuals living with the condition, including information on the ability to complete household tasks. Overall, 70% of respondents said they needed help with household duties, but only 31% said they actually received assistance. The remaining 40% said that they do not receive this kind of support currently, but wish they did. If you have COPD and are struggling to complete household tasks, below are several sources of support that may provide useful on your COPD journey.

Friends and family

Not everyone with a chronic condition, including COPD, may be comfortable asking for help from those around them. Although it may be difficult, there may be more friends and family members willing to help than you realize, but only if you ask. Letting those around you know that you’re struggling, and asking if there’s anything they recommend or that they can pitch-in on might provide a greater response than expected. It’s important to remember that it is not a sign of weakness to ask for help when you need it.

Paid services that provide assistance

A quick Internet search for “help with household chores” will provide many options for paid services that can provide you with the assistance you need. This may be helpful for individuals who don’t feel comfortable asking friends or family for help, or whose loved ones are unable to fully assist. Although paid services can provide you with quick, efficient help, there are several things to consider before using a service like this. Specifically, it’s important to determine the credibility of the service. If a service or individual service provider has many, positive reviews on their website, social media, or by word-of-mouth from friends, family, or community members, it’s most likely a good choice.

However, no matter how many positive reviews a service has, or how nice their website is, it’s still important to be safe before inviting a stranger into your home. For the first visit, or first several visits, it may be a good idea to have someone else at home with you. If this is not possible, telling a friend or family member that you are expecting someone to come over and help in your home, and asking them to check in with you later to make sure everything is okay, is also a good option.

State and local services for older individuals

Although paid services can be helpful and convenient, not everyone can afford them. If this is the case for you, it may be a good idea to check and see if you qualify for any government-sponsored home help programs in your area. While federal resources, including Medicare or Medicaid, may provide coverage for in-home help, the services included are often healthcare-specific.1 This means that they may be able to help with tasks at home, however, these are limited to tasks that are directly related to managing your COPD and any other health conditions. They will not help with household chores or meal preparation. However, there are several state and local resources that may provide this kind of service for free or reduced cost depending on where you live.

Especially if you are an older adult, you may be able to take advantage of your state’s Aging Services Division.2 Each state’s Aging Services Division may be called something different, including its Department of Senior Services, Office on Aging, Division of Aging Services, Department For Aging and Independent Living, and more. A full list of these divisions, based on their location, can be found on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.3 You can contact the agency in your area to determine what programs they have available if you qualify for assistance, and how to apply. Within each state’s Aging Services Division, there are a variety of different programs which can vary from place to place. Some of these may be services that provide in-home meal preparation or meal delivery, help with home repairs, and general assistance with household chores.

State and local services for younger individuals

If you are a younger adult and do not qualify for these services based on your age, there may still be programs that exist in your area that can help provide you with the support you need. For example, the state of Massachusetts has a program called the Home Care Assistance Program (Under 60), which provides similar services to those described above for younger adults living with significant health-related burdens.4 If you are a younger adult in this category, talk with your doctor or healthcare provider to see if they know of any resources like these in your specific location. Your state’s Aging Services Division may also be able to point you in the right direction if you contact them but are too young to qualify for their services.

  1. 1. Help Paying for Senior Home Care. Accessed January 16, 2019.
  2. 2. State Resources. Eldercare Directory. Accessed January 16, 2019.
  3. 3. Resources Near You. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed January 16, 2019.
  4. 4. Home Care Assistance Program (Under 60). Accessed January 16, 2019.


  • deebea
    2 months ago

    I finally got a robot vacuum. It’s a lifesaver.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    2 months ago

    Hi deebea, and thanks for joining in the conversation here. Glad to hear you’re having success with the robot vacuum. We appreciate you sharing this positive experience with the community. All the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • sharlee
    5 months ago

    I just was released from the hospital with a bronco spasm which was triggered by a corynebacterium striaum bacterial infection. It is so important when COPD or STAGE IV lung cancer patients go to the emergency, they could have a bacterial infection and broncoscopy should automatically be required to rule out bacterial infections.they must realize today stage IV cancer is being treated and praise God a PET scan in April showed my lung cancer gone. I is being cured. Who would ever believe anyone some day would type those words. Thank you God. I had only a “few slightly lit” nodes in pelvic area which were not a concern but my cancer doctors wanted to keep an eye on and said my Keytruda is working wonderful and they are keeping me on it. Last month was treatment 41. I had been off and on antibiotics with bronchitis and pneumonia for several months and about a month ago i had a critical acute exacerbation of COPD. My first experience which was very frightening. You feel as if you are drowning. I had coughing spasms in the last few months which also left me breathless. And of course due to the suffocating symptoms I requested prayer from my minister said to my minister if this is what COPD is like I dont want to live like this. I need God to help me with whatever it is to learn to cope with it or to accept death. I was always coughing and gasping for air. Eventually I asked my lung dr to please do a broncscopy on my lungs to get the junk out maybe I can breathe better. My oxygen level would drop to 88 when I walked 1 minute and 20 seconds, I had this assessment when I went to Pulmonary Rehabilitation, I had to do something,I was so overwhelme with this and need help so I wanted to learn from the pros. I then went on oxygen, which was another upsetting event since I am blessed to work full time at a job i love. I went for my cancer treatment and cancer dr asked if I was on antibiotics, since I had just been discharged from the hospital from an acute exacerbation and I said no. I was only on steroids. Then is when I found out I had the corynebacterium striatum infection. I did not improve, so therefore went to the er as my cancer doctor said i should. I did research on this bacteria, had it wrote down the name and read its resistance against many antibiotics I wrote vanomycin is what will kill it. I explained to the er dr. Sadly when you go to the er with these diseases and have breathing difficulties, automatically, stage iv lung and copd is thought well this is probably is the end of your life, never stopping to realize today, Keytruda and other cancer fighting drugs are killing cancer. The medical profession must be alert and not automatically assume that a COPD exacerbation is the ending of a life, it was an infection which i needed iv powerful drugs to kill. Broncoscopy should automatically be required to rule out bacterial infections. Which I also read, could create an epidemic due to it being highly contagious, yes, i was in isolation. I am not on ox today, it has only been two days i have been discharged, and tomorrow will see my lung dr for a check up and further assessment and when i can work again. In the meantime, my cancer treatments have been stopped until this is cleared up and so has my pulmonary rehabilitation program. I was coughing so much mucus green, brown, and was told the color doesn’t really matter, but my spasms were violent. I just gagged and it was just left as an acute exacerbation. Do cultures, blood cultures and let it grow as it should to be sure. I was told the first culture was a false negative, this is what i coughed up in the emergency room and during my stay, when I had my bronchscopy is when it was detected, but i did not know because the doctor was out for a week and my cancer dr. treated me for it after reviewing my. When I went to Pulmonary Rehabilitation Wednesday night class, the nurse instructor saw the difficulty I had in breathing even with my oxygen and said I sound very sick and my lungs are all clogged I need to go to the emergency just to get checked out, and I had such trouble always gasping for air and coughing up mucas, he said I would not work out because i was not well. I did go to the er with him and then was admitted and above is the rest of the story.

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