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Those in COPD group give, get support

By ROBERTA BAKER
New Hampshire Union Leader

September 16. 2018 9:54PM




Diane Blake, 75, a former psychotherapist and 40-year smoker, runs a COPD support group the second Wednesday of every month, 1 to 2:30 p.m., at the office of Breathe New Hampshire at 145 Hollis St. in Manchester.

Diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in 2009, Blake gave up smoking and went through pulmonary rehabilitation, and has participated in maintenance programs since “because I didn’t want to get oxygen. It will happen at some point, but going on maintenance has stalled that.”

“The sooner you get diagnosed, you can be proactive and learn to live and cope with how your life’s changing because of it,” Blake says. “Being part of a support group fights the loneliness and isolation, and keeps you moving forward. You not only get support, you provide support.”

Resources for COPD sufferers and those who suspect it are available at www.breathenh.org, and from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at COPD.nhlbi.nih.gov.

Information and support for seniors who want to quit smoking can be found on 60plus.smokefree.gov, which includes recommendations for lifestyle changes, food substitutes for smoking, and a guide to nicotine replacement products such as gum, lozenges, nicotine patch, nasal spray and inhalers often used in combination prescription medications. Monthly treatment costs, including nicotine replacement products, counseling and medication are covered to varying degrees by health insurance, and free under some plans.

In addition, 60plus.smokefree.gov offers two free, downloadable step-by-step guides to stopping smoking: Smoke Free 60+ Quit Plan and Clear Horizons for smokers over age 50. Breathe New Hampshire also publishes a free 10-step guide. In-person counseling can be found through local hospitals and clinics. Free phone support is available from the National Cancer Institute’s quit line (877) 488-7848; free in-state phone support can be accessed by calling (800) 784-8669.

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Silver Linings is a continuing Union Leader/Sunday News report focusing on the issues of New Hampshire’s aging population and seeking out solutions. Union Leader reporter Roberta Baker would like to hear from readers about issues related to aging. She can be reached at rbaker@unionleader.com or (603) 206-1514. See more at www.unionleader.com/aging. This series is funded through a grant from the Endowment for Health.


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