Living a fulfilling life

It’s possible for you and the patient to live a fulfilling life with breathlessness.

You and the patient can support each other to do the things you enjoy. This might be things you do together, as well as things you do separately.

There are lots of activities you can do together, and some might even help the patient’s breathlessness.

Some ideas are:

  • Tai Chi or yoga classes
  • Singing in a choir you can find information about singing groups on the British Lung Foundation website
  • Watching sports – cheering can help breathing!
  • Gentle walking groups – many GP surgeries and local communities offer these

Have you tried...?

The 5 Ps of living a fulfilling life

Using the 5 Ps can help you plan how and when to do activities. These may seem like common sense, but they can be quite difficult when living with breathlessness:

  • Prioritise – prioritise energy-giving activities and things that are most important
  • Plan – plan time flexibly for activities for the day and for the week
  • Pace – pace activity by balancing activity with rest and avoid the boom/bust trap
  • Problem solve – work together to solve problems
  • Permission – allow the patient to do things in a way that works for them. Also give yourself permission, as a carer, to take time for yourself. It’s often not what you do but how you do it that can make all the difference.

In the video below, hear from Specialist Occupational Therapist, Julie Burkin, how using the five Ps can help you to keeping doing meaningful activities with breathlessness

What you can do to help the patient

  • Find a time to sit down together to plan some things you can do together – at home and away from home
  • Choose something you both enjoy and perhaps something new to try
  • Now use the 5 Ps on this page to help you plan how and when you will do these activities
  • Remember, you can also use the Ways to ease breathlessness wherever you are, including when you are out and about

In the video below carers and patients share ideas for ways they live a fulfilling life with breathlessness

Click here for a printable version of this page (PDF, 423KB)

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Page last reviewed: 08/05/2020