Elderly Care Tips: How Humidifiers Can Improve Quality of Life

smart home, humidifierFor seniors and those with lung conditions such as COPD, maintaining the best possible air quality in the house is a must. Air that is too dry, for instance, might cause or exacerbate health problems such as:

  • Itchy, dry, or chapped skin
  • Nose bleeds
  • Sore throat
  • Dry eyes
  • Aggravated allergy, asthma, and flu/cold symptoms such as congestion
  • And more

Yet air that is too humid can cause mold and mildew to grow, which can lead to a variety of health issues along with causing damage to the home.

Humidifiers, when used correctly, can help maintain an ideal level of moisture in the air (between 30 – 50%), and particularly for anyone with a chronic lung disease, can foster eased breathing, reduced irritation of nasal passages, and the ability to more effectively expel phlegm in coughing.

Also, using a humidifier during the night can ease congestion and snoring, help reduce the level of any allergens, viruses and bacteria in the air, even relieve an itchy scalp. Again, use caution to be sure the amount of humidity doesn’t surpass the optimal range, which can bring about disrupted sleep patterns.

There are many different types of humidifiers to choose from:

  • Central humidifiers, which are built into the house’s central heating/air conditioning unit; the most costly option, but one that will benefit the entire house rather than only one room
  • Impeller humidifiers, utilizing a cool mist, which is a safer option because it cannot cause burns; it may, however, trigger allergic or asthmatic problems if overused
  • Evaporators, blowing air through a dampened filter; a budget friendly choice, but can be problematic if allowed to add too much moisture into the air
  • Ultrasonic humidifiers, using vibrations to produce mist in either a warm or cool option; offered in an assortment of sizes
  • Steam vaporizers, which are typically the least expensive and most portable option; water is heated and then cooled before being discharged into the air

Speak to a physician about the benefits of a humidifier in your loved one’s particular circumstances, and which type is preferred.

Generations at Home is here to assist those diagnosed with chronic medical conditions like COPD, or simply just the challenges inherent in normal aging, through a variety of home care services. Call us at 727-940-3414 to discover how we can help you breathe easier with reliable in-home support.

Resources and Tips for Seniors Living with COPD During COVID-19

treatment at home by inhalationThose diagnosed with COPD have needed to stay especially watchful since the COVID-19 pandemic started, as they are likely at both a much higher risk for contracting the virus as well as for developing more severe complications from it. A recent research study published by the European Respiratory Journal reported that people with COPD were more likely to be admitted to the ICU, require ventilator care, and succumb to the virus compared to those without the disease.

And even though the CDC gives recommendations for all of us, including those diagnosed with COPD to avoid getting the illness, such as frequent handwashing, social distancing, and staying home whenever possible, one advisory is particularly a struggle for an individual with breathing difficulties: wearing a face covering. The American Lung Association suggests that individuals diagnosed with COPD try a number of various kinds of coverings to discover the one that’s most comfortable, and wear the mask around the home for brief amounts of time to become more used to the feeling.

Additional suggestions include:

  • Continue to manage your COPD as recommended by the physician, with modifications to curb your exposure to other people, such as telehealth appointments and mail-order prescriptions.
  • Boost your body’s defense system with a healthy and balanced diet and plenty of rest, and make sure to follow the physician’s recommended treatment plan.
  • Take good care of your emotional health to minimize anxiety and stress. Switch off the news and social media and take part in soothing and gratifying activities instead. And make certain to consult with a mental health professional as needed for help with managing stress and preventing depression.

Of particular importance for anyone with COPD is the need for regular physical exercise. According to David Au, MD, professor at the University of Washington Medical School’s division of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine, because COPD causes shortness of breath, physical activity is particularly challenging. He, as well as the Respiratory Health Association, recommend (with physician approval):

  • Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise on a daily basis, at least three times per week.
  • Try leg lifts, marching in place, and arm circles, making use of canned goods or small weights.
  • Go up and down stairs.
  • Include deep breathing exercises.

These resources offer more useful information targeted to COPD considerations during the COVID-19 pandemic:

For specialized in-home care for individuals diagnosed with COPD as well as other chronic conditions, call on Generations at Home. Our staff are fully trained and knowledgeable in providing individualized care in order to make life safer and much more enjoyable. You can reach us any time at 727-940-3414.