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My daughter and I are both shielding - here's how we're staying in touch

Carol lives with severe COPD. Her daughter lives with severe asthma. She explains how they're keeping in touch while shielding for 12 weeks.

Carol Liddle at taskforce launch event
Carol (right) at a Taskforce for Lung Health event before the lockdown began

For most people to suddenly be told that they must shut themselves off from the world for 12 weeks would be a huge shock. For many, it’s a massive ask, a phenomenal ‘how on earth will I cope?’ moment.

The reality for many people living with a severe lung condition is that periods of self-isolation can be quite common. But this is extreme, even for us. And we don’t know whether it will stop at just 12 weeks.

My daughter and I are shielding

Usually, we can totally rely on family members for support, both physical and mental. It's not as easy this time.

It's particularly the case for me and my daughter Natasha. She lives with severe asthma and I live with severe - borderline very severe – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (or COPD). We're both shielding.

In the past, we'd gone to community support groups (both together and separately) and we were pretty much inseparable. But we had our challenges and we had lost practically all contact with each other until late last year, because of Natasha’s personal circumstances.

Despite everything, we can still feel connected

Now, we’ve both found that despite everything going on, we can still feel connected. Comfort, support and encouragement are available across the world thanks to modern technology. Natasha and I have been texting while she waited for new broadband. And nothing beats a good old natter, so we’re putting our mobile phones to good use. I think this is the perfect time to reconnect with each other, especially if it’s been a while.

Even if you can’t go out for a coffee, you can still take a break and call someone.

There's always someone who can help

Beyond calling others, technology also breaks down barriers. There’s always something or someone who can help. I know the British Lung Foundation has some amazing resources on their website. They have good, safe exercises we can all try at home, and links to lots more support. It’s so important that we try to stay as active as possible.

What’s more, there’s a whole community of people on HealthUnlocked and I’d encourage you all to join up. It’s not all doom and gloom – there are lots of tips and lots of fun too.

Find the right apps and online tools to manage your lung condition using our helpful guide.

You can search for an app or read more about how technology can help you.

Find out how technology can help you

We aren't alone

So, I’m looking on this as both a time for reaching out to each other and rekindling the art of conversation. After all, they say a problem shared is a problem halved. And most importantly of all, remember that we are all in this together. We aren’t alone.

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14 April 2020