COPD and Me: A Guide to Staying Safe while Aging in Place

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NATURAL WAYS TO CARE WITH COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, often referred to as COPD, describes several progressive respiratory diseases (such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis) that target the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. While COPD presents a unique set of challenges to older adults and their caregivers, it is essential to remember that millions of American families can successfully manage this diagnosis every year with the appropriate combination of treatment and modifications to their daily lives.

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LIFE CHANGES WITH CARE & COMPASSION

People living with COPD may experience both physical and cognitive challenges related to their diagnosis.  While COPD is mainly associated with shortness of breath, other medical complications may arise as a direct result of this, including but not limited to: lung infections, high blood pressure, heart disease, and even depression/anxiety.  Because of the frequency and severity of these complications, people living with COPD may need to make significant changes to their daily routines to manage their condition effectively.

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CHANGES TO DAILY ROUTINES​

COPD symptoms can often make doing chores and completing other daily tasks challenging… Small, simple changes in a daily routine can significantly impact the quality of life for someone with COPD.

  • Incorporate a mixture of gentle 20–30-minute exercises into a loved one’s daily routine to help build their lung capacity back up.
  • Talk to a loved one about using a walker or cane to help them get around.
  • Help a loved one quit smoking and encourage their friends and family to do the same.
  • Assist a loved one in maintaining a healthy diet.
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CHANGES TO PHYSICAL SPACES​

Older adults with COPD may struggle to move around their homes as they once did. Changes may be necessary to ensure a loved one can get around the house with ease.

  • If the home has stairs, consider investing in a stairlift or installing a wheelchair ramp to minimize physical activity.
  • Outfit bathrooms with safety rails and shower chairs to reduce the physical stress of washing and bathing. Ensure a loved one has access to a terry cloth robe after bathing to dry off with ease.
  • Give a loved one a SuperPole to help them sit and stand without physical assistance.
  • Vacuum and dust a loved one’s home frequently so they can breathe easier.
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CHANGES TO CHORES & Hygiene

Parents with COPD may need extra assistance around their homes to manage their symptoms comfortably.

  • Consider moving commonly used items to countertops and tables at waist height to reduce potential stress on the body.
  • Have a loved one use a cart to quickly and independently transport items around the home or garage.
  • Create a chore schedule with extra time built between each task to help a loved one slow down and take small breaks while cleaning.
  • Assist a loved one in picking appropriate cleaning products free of fragrances and harsh chemicals that may worsen their COPD symptoms.
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ADAPTATIONS For SUPPORTIVE CARE​

Loved ones with COPD may need additional emotional support to manage how they are feeling about their symptoms.  Special considerations should be made to ensure they get the support they need to thrive independently.

  • Help a loved one build a network of social and emotional support by teaching their friends and family members about COPD.
  • Check local resources to see any COPD support groups locally to join with a loved one.
  • Make sure a loved one schedules time for their hobbies to reduce stress; consider trying out a few yoga or meditation classes together or provide them with opportunities to engage in their preferred activities.

More Recommended Products for COPD Patients

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COPD Adults Have Unique Needs

While COPD can initially be overwhelming, we are confident that our loved ones can still thrive with the right resources and support. We encourage you to connect often with a health care practitioner on new practices and tips to ease a loved one’s daily life. We want to support you and your loved one as you navigate this new health reality and hope to connect on any of your specific needs or questions. 

Loved Ones WITH COPD CAN REMAIN INDEPENDENT

COPD can be a challenging disease to cope with, but we offer many products and solutions to assist you and your parent to keep them safe so they can maintain their independence at home as long as possible. 

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