COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, affects millions of people throughout the United States each year. Experts estimate that around 11 million people have actually received a diagnosis of the disease, while millions more are suffering from it and don’t even know it. The third leading cause of death in the country, COPD can be very serious and detrimentally impact your aging parent’s health, functioning, and quality of life.
One of the most important things you can do as a family caregiver for a senior who is living with COPD is to help them protect their lungs effectively. Taking care of their lungs can reduce symptoms and severity, and help your parent live healthier even as they are struggling with this disease.
Some ways you can help your senior protect their lungs while dealing with COPD include:
- If they smoke, help them quit immediately.
- Help them avoid secondhand smoke, which can be very dangerous for health even if your parent has never smoked.
- Be aware of the quality of your senior’s air inside their home and help them to improve it through efforts such as cleaning the duct and ventilation system and using an air purifier.
- Avoid using harsh chemicals to clean the home. Breathing in these chemicals can be irritating to their lungs as well as their sinuses.
- Practice aggressive germ control to help your parent avoid infections and illnesses that impact their lungs, such as cold, flu, and pneumonia.
- If your aging parent starts to experience symptoms of being sick, do not hesitate to manage them quickly. Even a minor cold or infection can rapidly worsen in an elderly adult, so it is important to address it as soon as possible to reduce the risk of it worsening.
Home health care can be a great way to help your parent take better care of their health and well-being as they age in place. A home health care services provider can be with your aging loved one on the schedule that is right for them as well as you to ensure they have access to the care they need to manage their challenges and boost their quality of life.
When it comes to taking better care of their health, a home health care services provider can encourage your parent to make good lifestyle choices such as eating a healthy diet, staying physically active, getting enough sleep, and staying compliant with their prescriptions and treatments with medication reminders. They can also assist with tasks throughout the home to keep them healthier, such as keeping the house clean and doing light laundry.