Better Breathers bring speakers to Sidney Oct. 28

The Saanich Peninsula Better Breathers Club is hosting a talk this month on transportation options for those who have trouble getting around

The Saanich Peninsula Better Breathers Club is hosting a talk this month on transportation options for those who have trouble getting around.

“There are many people who have trouble getting from point A to point B and we were finding that a lot of people, including Better Breathers members, weren’t aware of the options available for transportation,” explained Diane Gillis, the Vancouver Island Better Breathers co-ordinator.

As a result, the Better Breathers Club that meets at the SHOAL Centre in Sidney decided to host a talk with a Travel Training Co-ordinator from B.C. Transit to educate people on their options when it comes to getting around town.

“As people age or their health becomes problematic, sometimes there’s that tendency to lose independence,” said Gillis.

“There’s often loneliness and depression that goes along with that loss so what we do is help people to access the tools they need. Knowledge is power and understanding the options available, like transportation methods, helps people have best quality of life. When you share information like this, it can open up someone’s world.”

The talk will focus on how to access resources like Handidart, the B.C. Transit Taxi Saver Program and other helpful options for those with transportation issues.

Gillis said the Better Breathers Clubs (which have chapters all the way up to Campbell River) have proven to be a great lifeline for people who suffer from life-changing breathing and lung conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, sleep apnea, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, pulmonary fibrosis, lung cancer and severe allergies.

“Some people come because the groups provide information about lung health and general health but the meetings can also help family members understand what a loved one might be going through,” she said.

The Saanich Peninsula Better Breathers meet once a month on the fourth Monday and talk about anything from medications to exercise.

“A common one we work with is getting enough exercise. If you have a breathing condition and you’re short of breath all the time, there’s a tendency not to be very active. But if you aren’t active your muscles deteriorate and actually require more oxygen to work. We do things like exercise classes in chairs to get people moving in an easy way. We’ve had so many success stories from our members,” Gillis said.

There’s no cost to be a part of the Better Breathers, Gillis added, and the groups provide a real sense of community for members.

“Some people even get together in between meetings to have coffee and catch up,” she said.

Gillis encourages anyone with a lung or breathing condition, their family members, caregivers, friends and community members to attend the talk on transportation options.

“We know there are many people out there who can benefit from this,” she said.

The Saanich Peninsula Better Breathers talk on transportation happens Monday, Oct. 28 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the SHOAL Centre in Sidney. There’s no cost and no registration required.