COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a big health problem for older adults. It’s a group of lung diseases that can cause coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and other symptoms. Over time, the illness progresses and worsens. Managing your senior’s health wisely can slow down how quickly COPD progresses and give her a little more time before she’s seriously impacted by the illness. Having an in-home care provider on hand can really be a huge help.
Avoid Secondhand Smoke and Quit Smoking, if Applicable
The most common cause of COPD is exposure to smoke, either firsthand through smoking or secondhand, through being around other people who smoke. If your elderly family member does smoke, quitting is her best bet. Her doctor can help her to craft a plan for quitting safely. Avoiding being around secondhand smoke as much as possible is really important, too.
Reduce Exposure to Pollution and Airborne Irritants
Airborne irritants and pollution, even household chemicals, can be really irritating for someone with COPD. It can be bad enough that it causes something called an exacerbation, which is a worsening of COPD symptoms. Having home care providers taking care of things like cleaning can help to keep your elderly family member away from household chemicals that might cause a reaction for her now.
Take Steps for a Healthier Lifestyle Overall
Finding ways to help your elderly family member to have a healthier overall lifestyle is part of her care plan. Her doctor may recommend some exercise parameters along with changes to her diet. Adopting those changes can take some time and adjustment and working with elder care providers can help your senior to adjust.
Address Other Health Issues
If your elderly family member has other health issues, she may be feeling even more run down than she thinks she is. Heart disease, diabetes, and other serious health issues can make it even more difficult to manage COPD. Keeping those other health issues in check can make a difference in how her COPD progresses. Working with her doctors can give her a plan that addresses all of her concerns.
Get Vaccinated for Flu and Pneumonia Regularly
Someone with COPD is at a greater risk of other respiratory illnesses, like pneumonia and the flu. Getting vaccinated against those illnesses on a regular basis is a good way to protect overall lung health. The more that your senior does to avoid lung infections, the more she can slow down COPD progression.
Get Some Extra Help
Even the early stages of COPD can take a lot out of your senior. The body burns a lot more energy just breathing and going through life than is obvious when your senior is well. Having some help from home care providers gives your elderly family member a chance to rest and to conserve her energy a bit, which is important when she’s already feeling drained.
COPD is a serious progressive illness that doesn’t have a cure at this stage. Slowing down how fast it’s progressing is possible, though, and can give your elderly family member a little more time to enjoy her life.