Caring For an Elder With Breathing Problems
During the aging process, the body is not the only part of the elder that begins to move slower. The lungs may also begin to perform at a slower rate, causing breathing troubles to arise. The reason for this is that the bones begin to become thinner and change in shape, resulting in a change to the shape of the ribcage. Once this shape change occurs in the ribcage, the ribcage cannot expand and contract while breathing like it is supposed to.
Older adults who find breathing difficult may also have trouble climbing a flight of stairs or walking without becoming winded. An elder care professional may be needed to assist the senior with their everyday tasks and chores they are no longer able to do. If you would like to help care for your elderly loved one while they are coping with their breathing issues, there are some things you can do to help your loved one control the symptoms of their lung problems.
Keep drinking. Drinking plenty of water or juices will keep the lungs clear by eliminating any mucous that may be building up. This is especially important if you are caring for someone with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Stay away from over-the-counter meds. Nonprescription medications can actually make the elder’s COPD or other chronic lung issues worse. These drugs actually dry the lungs out, causing the secretions to thicken up and plug the airways. Stick to only prescription medications to treat chronic lung problems.
Get plenty of information on inhaled bronchodilators. If the senior’s doctor recommends an inhaled bronchodilator device to clear up their symptoms, get as much information as possible before leaving their office. This includes having the nurse or doctor demonstrate how to use it, what you can do to make it easier for them to use the spray, and what alternative treatment options are available if this device does not help.
Make healthy choices. How your loved one takes care of their body may show in their ability to breathe. Those who exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, avoid alcohol, and do not smoke are less likely to have breathing problems than those who make poor lifestyle choices.
Avoid sleeping pills. Drugs used to assist with sleep habits are designed to slow down breathing. Someone who already has issues with breathing should stay away from these pills as they will only worsen the symptoms.
If you are concerned with your loved one’s breathing, see their doctor as soon as possible.
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If you’re looking for a high-quality home care company to provide a great experience for you or your loved ones, please give us a call at (203) 295-3477 or send us an email at [email protected]. One of our team members will evaluate your situation and discuss the next steps.