Senior Care in Charlotte NC
October 23 – 29 brings us National Respiratory Care Week. This annual event was created in order to recognize those in the respiratory care professions as well as bring awareness to lung health.
Changes with Age
The ribcage surrounds and protects the lungs. As bone density decreases, the rib cage changes shape and can no longer expand or contract to its full capacity during breathing. This change affects the lungs–decreasing oxygen and increasing carbon dioxide. In addition, the diaphragm—the large muscle below your lungs—becomes weak and the air sacs within the lungs lose their shape. All of these changes result in decreased oxygen supply, making it difficult for the elderly to breath and result in symptoms such as fatigue and shortness of breath.
Pneumonia is, simply put, an infection of the lungs. Older people are at a greater risk for this common disease. The earlier the diagnosis, the better the chance of a full recovery, yet early symptoms in the elderly can be difficult to detect. The immune system weakens over time, leaving the elderly more susceptible to infections, and the body may have difficulty raising its temperature in response to the invasion. Existing conditions such as heart disease or diabetes can also leave them more vulnerable with symptoms that coincide. Medical care should be prompt and immediate if a loved one is exhibiting some or all of the following symptoms: coughing, fever, chills, shortness of breath, weakness, green or yellow sputum, or pain in their chest.
Keeping Lungs Healthy
- Don’t’ smoke. If a loved one has had a difficult time getting rid of this bad habit, get them help. Cigarette smoke is the top cause of lung cancer, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The American Lung Association has some great resources and information to help a loved one get started on a healthier tomorrow. One such site: http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/i-want-to-quit/.
- Avoid pollutants. Easier said than done, right? There are a few steps family members can take to help make sure their elderly parents are living in the best environment for their lungs. Don’t’ use strong, abrasive chemicals in their home.
There are a multitude of natural and organic cleansing supplies that can help keep the home clean and the aging parent’s lungs healthy. Get a home-radon-testing kit. This natural radioactive gas is derived from the breakdown of uranium found in rocks and soil. It is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
Do aerobic and breathing exercises
If a parent is able, going out for a walk and suggesting some deep breathing at the same time will accomplish both of these activities essential to lung health. Performing these together will not only bring health, but a closer relationship as well.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING SENIOR CARE IN CHARLOTTE, NC, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT GOLDEN HEART SENIOR CARE OF CHARLOTTE. (704) 246-5806.