Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a condition that affects the lungs in the elderly. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease yet. It can, however, be managed by following a few tips laid out in this blog post.
Managing COPD in seniors aims to improve the quality of life and relieve the symptoms using a medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, and other treatments. If you are living with COPD, these tips will help improve lung function and slow the decline in your overall health.
Let us understand the strategies for COPD management at home:
1. Quit Smoking
Research suggests that COPD patients face many adverse effects due to complicated treatment plans. They may need treatment for multiple diseases such as depression, heart failure, coronary artery disease, hypertension, and diabetes.
The burden of comorbid conditions can lead to adverse drug events, weight loss, and falls. Besides, certain lifestyle factors such as smoking can speed up the disease’s progression. The best thing you can do to manage your condition is to give up smoking.
In fact, nicotine is one of the causes of COPD, which is why smoking cessation will reduce symptoms. Talk to your healthcare provider about the following techniques that would aid smoking cessation:
- Nicotine replacement therapy
- Self-help materials
- Group programs
2. Try Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program
Treatment for COPD in the elderly involves a pulmonary rehabilitation program. Your care specialists can help you incorporate lifestyle changes and provide general education about managing your condition.
Our team at AdvantagePlusNurses can help you learn breathing exercises and other forms of workouts for managing COPD. We create a coordinated program to improve your health and increase your activity as much as possible.
Moreover, our care specialists will provide nutrition advice that you should follow. Since COPD patients are more vulnerable to infections such as pneumonia and influenza, they must get vaccinated for yearly flu and pneumococcal diseases.
3. Eat a Balanced Diet and Exercise
Eating a balanced diet can be difficult for seniors living with COPD. For this reason, consulting a dietician to create a healthy meal plan is a viable solution. Exercising and eating right is indispensable for maintaining your fitness level.
However, before making any changes to your diet, you must discuss it with your primary healthcare provider.
- Try to include green leafy vegetables
- Include physical therapy in your treatment plan
- Drink enough water
- Learn techniques to expel mucus from your airways
4. Get Plenty of Rest
When we talk about managing COPD, getting plenty of rest is as essential as proper diet and exercise. Even though sleeping can be a bit challenging, you should try to keep a regular bedtime schedule.
It’s essential to feel tired for you to sleep peacefully, which is why we don’t recommend taking naps during the day. Avoid working or exercising at least two hours before bedtime. Moreover, you shouldn’t have caffeinated drinks after 5 PM.
Make small changes in your diet, like having a handful of nuts or a glass of milk before going to bed. Also, include high-protein snacks and remove high-carb food from your dinner.
5. Use Oxygen Therapy
COPD patients have dangerously low levels of blood oxygen. This is because the body can no longer get enough oxygen without assistance. Therefore, your doctor may prescribe oxygen therapy to improve your daily activity, enhance your sleep, and protect your organs.
If you or your family member is living with COPD, you can also get a portable oxygen tank as prescribed by your doctor. The oxygen is delivered to your body through a face mask or flexible nasal tube.
If you want a more affordable alternative, you can purchase an oxygen concentrator that extracts oxygen from the air. When used correctly, oxygen therapy can be very helpful in managing COPD and does not harm your lungs and other body parts.
That brings us to our bonus tip for managing COPD in the elderly:
Formulate an Action Plan
COPD is confusing, complex, and challenging. Patients often do not remember critical changes in medication, symptoms, diet, and doctor visits. Hence, a COPD action plan becomes imperative to:
- Adhere to the medication schedule
- Understand if the treatment is working
- Determine when to contact your care specialist
- Know when to access emergency care
During each visit, your care team will update the plan to manage the symptoms of COPD.