“Location location location.” – This old adage is even more important when you have a medical need, such as oxygen therapy, or if you have a disability. Going out for a night of fun and socializing shouldn't be something that you have to give up, now that you are using oxygen therapy. You still need to get around, even if you are just visiting, and you deserve the accommodations that you need to be comfortable. That's why we've put together a list of the 10 best oxygen friendly cities in the US.
This list has been based on the things you will need, such as easy public transportation, accessibility for those with disabilities, the best average climate conditions for people with COPD, and the best nearby pulmonary clinics. Keep in mind that the places with the best accommodations usually have a higher cost of living, and higher taxes. Very often, these things are worth it for being able to move about comfortably and easily. Although using oxygen therapy isn't considered a disability, ease of access for people with disabilities is taken into consideration, because they often go hand-in-hand.
Denver is well known for its ease of mobility for those who need to take it easy. The National Jewish Health, Denver-University of Colorado Hospital has been ranked as the best pulmonary care facility, so you know you will be in the best hands if you have any problems with your COPD. There is plenty to do – you can go to Skyline Park and attend the outdoor cinema, or play cards or bingo through the senior citizens program, courtesy of Denver Parks and Recreation. Since staying active is important, you will easily find something to do at one of the recreation centers. Denver has a temperate climate, so the summers aren't too hot, but the winters can be very cold.
Ann Arbor, MI
Ann Arbor gets continual recognition for being one of the best places to live in the United States, for people of all ages and degrees of mobility. This is the home of the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers, which ranks high on the list of pulmonary care centers. Traveling around town is easy, and the tree-lined streets are very attractive and welcoming. Public transportation isn't hard to miss here, so you won't need to do much driving. It boasts 157 parks, with a total of 2,000 acres, but you should check to make sure which ones have the easiest walking trails. Ann Arbor is also concerned with living as green as possible, so air pollution here is considerably low. Ann Arbor is a medium-sized city, and is ideal for those who aren't interested in living in a large metropolis. Winters are cold, but the summers are pleasant.
Austin, “the live music capital of the world”, is a fun city for visitors and citizens alike. Austin is very easy to travel for those with disabilities, or just for people who would rather ride the bus than drive. It's also a very walkable city, and the many sidewalks accommodate for people with mobility issues. Walking and biking are great exercises, and are ideal for people using oxygen therapy because they are gentle. Visit the parks and attend some live music festivals, or the Ice Cream Festival. You can also travel to Congress Avenue Bridge to watch millions of bats ascend into the sky as the sun goes down. Austin gets very hot in the summer, but the winter months are mild and much more pleasant than cities up north.
Rochester is the home of the Mayo Clinic, and one of the best pulmonary care facilities in the United States. The parks have over 85 miles of paved trails, which will make it fun and easy for you to get your exercise through biking or walking. You can also visit the recreation centers to get your exercise when the weather turns bad during the cold winters. If you want to do some skiing or snow shoeing, they also leave some of the trails unploughed during the snowy months. The Mayo Civic Center also provides plenty of activities and entertainment. Public transportation is highly accessible, especially for those with medical needs and disabilities.
This city has one of the best average climates, with mild winters and summers that don't get too hot. If extreme heat or extreme cold considerably add to your breathing problems, this city is ideal. Public transportation is easy to come by, and it has great public assistance programs for seniors and people with disabilities. This is also another great city for pedestrians and cyclists. The Berkeley Marina makes this city a great boating community, and a boating enthusiast's dream. The John Muir Medical Center in Concord has a pulmonary rehabilitation program for those recovering from lung cancer, and it's only a hop and a skip away from Berkeley.
The Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, located here, is ranked among the top 25 for pulmonary care specialists, as well as the top 50 for 9 other specialties. The “Twin City” has also been ranked as one of the best cities for people with disabilities and one of the easier places to travel through, whether you are walking, biking or taking a bus. It has a southern culture and is great with conserving its historic landmarks. This is one of the 50 best cities for people of all ages, especially senior citizens. If you're a fan of the arts, Winston-Salem has a great downtown arts district. Winston-Salem is in a temperate climate zone, with cold winters and moderately hot summers.
The streets and sidewalks in Arlington, Virginia are known for being very easy to get around, if you are in a wheelchair, or if you need to pull an oxygen tank or portable concentrator around with you. There are plenty of walking trails and bike trails for adventure and exercise. They also offer STAR (Specialized Transit for Arlington Residents), which is a public transportation program for seniors or people with disabilities. This city prides itself in taking care of all of its residents, especially the elderly, disabled, or those with special medical needs. Arlington has a temperate climate, and gets a little more rainfall than the overall US average. If dry air bothers your lungs, Arlington's average weather would be good for you. This is the home of the Pulmonary and Medical Associates of Northern Virginia.
The home of Indiana University Health, which is ranked as one of the best hospitals in the US, and #11 in Pulmonology. The city offers cab vouchers and reduced bus fares for people with disabilities, and public transportation is readily available in all parts of the city. This area is fairly flat and hosts plenty of hike and bike trails out in nature, so this is a great place for people in wheelchairs and those on oxygen therapy to get some easy fresh air and exercise. The city is taking serious steps to cut down on pollution as much as possible, and offer green alternatives for energy and transportation.
Durham's Duke University Medical Center was rated 87.9% nationally as one of the best hospitals, and #5 nationally in the pulmonary department. City transportation here is known for being highly accessible and affordable, with great accommodations and benefits for seniors and people with medical or mobility needs. They have a sustainability department, which is working to make Durham a greener community. Durham is very cyclist and pedestrian friendly, with well maintained trails and sidewalks between neighborhoods. This city is in a region that enjoys an average of pleasant temperatures year round, with just the right amount of rain.
The public transportation in this city is disabilities-friendly, and is great as accommodating for those using oxygen tanks or concentrators. This is also the home of the renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital, which has been ranked #4 in the pulmonology department in the US, and #1 in geriatrics and ear, nose and throat specialists. “CountyRide” is the city's transportation program for people over the age of 60, or for people with disabilities, especially, so you will always be able to make it to doctors appointments and go anywhere you need to go. Take an easy stroll along the 7-mile waterfront promenade, or get a little rougher along the Appalachian Trail, on your bike or on foot. There are also 31 recreation centers in the area, for some indoor activity. Baltimore enjoys mild winters, and has moderately hot summers.