Independent Living for CAD Patients

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by Mary Chapman |

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Learning that you have a chronic condition such as cold agglutinin disease (CAD) can be particularly concerning if you are living alone. However, there are steps you can take to help you live well and independently.

Become a self-manager

With a chronic disease, you are in a different place than someone with acute illness. You are the day-to-day manager of your condition. The first step is to learn everything you can about your disease, and what to expect.

For example, CAD can restrict your normal daily activities. But lifestyle changes you help you maintain your independence and overcome such disease symptoms as fatigue, joint pain, and weakness. These include limiting your exposure to cold, maintaining good hygiene, avoiding infections, and taking precautions during hospital visits.

Control stress

Having a chronic illness adds stress to everyday life, especially if you live alone. Sources of stress can include symptom discomfort, feelings of isolation, financial pressure, and uncertainty about the future.

Now that you’ve been diagnosed, assessing your situation and developing a path forward can go a long way toward reducing stress. Encourage your family members to be involved, if possible, and your healthcare team. A financial advisor may also be of help.

Having someone legally in place who, if necessary, can make health and financial decisions for you can also bring greater peace of mind.

Re-evaluate your location

If you wish to stay on your own, it might make sense to move closer to family members who can help support you. You may also want to consider residing in an area that offers reliable public transportation, or consider relocating to a warmer climate to help manage CAD symptoms.

If you are living in a senior community, consider whether it meets your new needs. If you aren’t allowed to control the temperature in your apartment, for example, or if common areas are chilly or drafty, you will likely need to move to a place that better ensures your comfort.

Take advantage of community resources

If you are a senior citizen — CAD typically affects older people — you should consider plugging into local organizations that serve your demographic. The Eldercare Locator, a federal public service, can connect you to resources for older adults and their families in your area.

Tapping into local resources can help in addressing issues like transportation to a doctor’s appointment or getting groceries.

Stay socially involved

Even healthy people who live alone sometimes don’t thrive as well as others because of a human tendency, with advancing age, toward social isolation. If you’re living independently and with a chronic condition, it’s important to your overall health and quality of life to maintain social engagement.

Particularly if close family are not nearby, it’s important that you have friends or neighbors who know about your condition and its symptoms, and can help you in case of an emergency.

Finally, find a support group in your local area or online for people with CAD. Your healthcare provider may be able to help you locate one.

Get help with daily tasks

Because of your disease, you may sometimes need help with self-care tasks, household chores, or getting to appointments. Maintain a list of people you can ask for help.

If you don’t have someone to turn to, ask your provider or social worker about helpful services that may be available in your area. You may be eligible for meal delivery to you home, for example, or a home health aide.


Last updated: Oct. 8, 2020


Cold Agglutinin Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.