These days Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the all-in-one name for various problems associated with the lungs. Those with COPD may have emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma or a combination thereof. What they all have in common is that your parent will, eventually, have difficulty breathing.
COPD is a progressive lung disease that currently affects over 11 million people in the United States. It is estimated that another 12 to 24 million may have the disease without even knowing it. Symptoms vary depending on the stage of the disease. Early symptoms to be aware of include a chronic cough, an increase in mucus or phlegm, shortness of breath, wheezing and fatigue. If your parent has ever been a smoker or been in an environment where there was second hand smoke or other potential irritants, these symptoms may be the first warning signs of the development of COPD. Make an appointment with their primary health care provider and let them know your concerns. Don’t wait. Early detection is the key to slowing down the progression of this disease.
How to Help.
Your parent’s lungs are in a weakened condition, making them more susceptible to infections. Help them prevent infections from occurring by encouraging them to wash their hands on a regular basis including every time they are in a public location and before they eat. It’s also best for them to avoid public places during the cold or flu season. Make sure that people know that they cannot visit your parent if they are sick, even if it is just with the common cold. Provide them with a diet rich in antioxidants such as those found in fruits and vegetables, and ask their primary health care provider about giving them the mineral zinc which some studies suggest may help the elderly reduce their chances of infections.
Keep their home as clean as possible to limit any irritants to the lungs. This includes the use of an air purifying system as well as a vacuum cleaner with HEPA air filters. Help keep their home dust free and use cleaning products that do not contain strong chemicals. Remove carpets and wash bed linens with hot water. Avoid spraying anything into the air that may be an irritant such as aerosol sprays.
Encourage your parent to join a lung rehabilitation program if one is available in their area. These classes offer tips on how to cope with this disease and encourage specific exercises that help muscles to work more efficiently despite the reduced supply of oxygen. A common suggestion is to rest for one hour after meals to allow their body to digest before they attempt any activity. Other suggestions include getting help around the home to perform everyday activities.
Elder Care Provider.
An elder care provider can assist with everyday tasks such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation and light housekeeping. They can also run errands such as grocery shopping and provide transportation. Having someone available when their breathing becomes difficult can be a great relief. Sometimes the best service an elder care provider offers is companionship during difficult and uncertain times.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Monticello, FL, please call the caring staff at Hopewell In-Home Senior Care today at 850-386-5552. Providing Senior Care Services in North Florida.