Healthy living for seniors taken to the next level means a tenacity and dogged nature on both parts as conditions like cardiovascular disease and a downswing in mobility are only a few of the 8 Areas of Age-related Change. Others include: memory and Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis and arthritis, diabetes and circulatory problems. So how do the lungs take part in these changes?
The lungs have 2 main functions – to bring oxygen from the air into the body and to remove carbon monoxide from the body. If this crucial system is not functioning properly, the result can mean dangerous changes for the immune and nervous systems. Lung infections, shortness of breath, abnormal breathing patterns, and a difficult time fending off infection can become regular problems.
The New England Journal of Medicine found respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a contagion that infects the lungs and breathing passages, an increasingly recognized cause of illness in older adults. And while studies are pushing for the development in vaccines for community-dwelling seniors, there should still be a sense of urgency to address air quality. RSV is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes into the air. Droplets containing the virus are propelled into the atmosphere and come in contact with the mouth, nose, or eye of a bystander.
After covering the mouth and nose, introducing a system that cleans the air of airborne pathogens and provides a stable environment free of allergens and other irritating particulates gives you more time to focus on caring and spending time with your loved one.
Increasing fluid intake, according to the American Geriatrics Society’s Health in Aging Foundation website, Health In Aging, in addition to making sure prescribed medication and inhalers are being administered properly is another way caretakers can help. The prevention of additional respiratory problems caused by smoking, poor diet, and lack of mobility should also be on the forefront of your mind.
Health in Aging advises children, grandchildren, and caretakers to be patient during this quest to provide a better breathing condition, as this process takes time and troubleshooting. “Do not expect to see positive results immediately. Improving breathing problems is a long-term project. It usually takes three to six months to see a noticeable improvement.”
Studies are also being done in seeking a connection between air pollution and depression in the elderly. “Depression is one of the common mental health problems experienced by the elderly and has been found to lead to increased mortality and suicide in this age group,” stated an Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) article entitled, “Air Pollution and Symptoms of Depression in Elderly Adults.”
Taking a proactive approach to providing a stable and healthy indoor environment at home means commissioning more than just doctors and nurses to help your parent or grandparent. Introducing an air purifier can mean one less thing to worry about and peace of mind that your relative is breathing better.