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Elderly Breathing Problems – 20 Tips to Help Your Senior Live Better

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People with chronic bronchitis are at increased risk of developing infections, and those with other breathing problems (such as emphysema or COPD) are at risk of having infections further these problems. To prevent infections, encourage your senior to:

  • Wash both hands frequently.
  • Stay away from people who are ill.
  • Take a daily vitamin.
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, which contain vitamins and will build up their immune system.
  • Try a zinc supplement, which may help reduce infections.

Reducing indoor air pollution can help strengthen your elderly loved one’s lung health.  Here are some things to consider:

  • Central air conditioning is essential in warmer months for older people.  Make sure the filter is changed often.
  • Check for mold which can irritate the lungs.
  • Use only vacuum cleaners with HEPA air filters that trap the dust.
  • Wash bed linens, pillows, and curtains in hot water to kill any dust mites.
  • Remove any pets from the home.
  • Do not paint the inside of the house or redo the floors with polyurethane coating, as paint and polyurethane can irritate lungs.
  • Always run a fan that vents to the outdoors for at least 20 minutes when cooking or showering, as this will help avoid moisture buildup which can lead to mold.
  • Aerosol sprays and scented products should be avoided as they can cause breathing problems.

Learn how to conserve your senior’s energy. Here are some things to consider:

  • Exercising can help tone your senior’s muscles.
  • Seniors should rest for an hour after each meal to give the body time to digest the food eaten before using energy on something else.
  • Your senior should keep often used items within reach of his or her chair, so that it isn’t necessary to move very much to get them. Silverware should go from the sink or dishwasher to the table rather than cabinets. Pots and pans should be placed back on the stove after washing
  • If your senior lives alone, find someone to prepare meals, shop and do chores for him or her.

Clothing can also play a role.  Here are some tips to consider:

  • Your senior should avoid anything tight in the chest or abdomen that could restrict breathing, such as belts, bras and girdles.
  • Heavy clothing, such as coats and sweaters, can be exhausting, as these items require extra energy to wear.
  • Trying on clothing can itself be tiring. Instead, encourage your senior to measure him or herself with a tape measure or be measured by someone. Knowing these measurements will enable your senior to buy clothes either on line (thereby saving the energy needed to shop) or in a store, without trying them on.

Posted by: Frank Esposito, Vice President of Expert Home Care.  New Jersey’s Expert Home Care provides professional and reliable home health care and companion care for NJ elderly, helping them with their daily living activities since 1984. Please call us toll free at 800-848-2336 when you have home care related questions or need assistance for a loved one. Get a Free Home Care Assessment (a $375 value!) when you mention this post.

Expert Home Care

Frank Esposito has 33 years experience in the field of non-medical home care and home health care in the state of New Jersey (NJ). As an operations manager he has delivered over 65 million hours of service to 8,000 + clients. He is sought after nationwide as a consultant and trainer.

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