Coughing. Shortness of breath. Wheezing. If you’re taking care of a loved one with COPD, you are familiar with these symptoms. Your goal is to help the person live their highest possible quality of life, but it’s not easy. While there is currently no cure available for COPD, it is treatable, and there are actions you can take as a family caregiver to help.
What Ate The Top Strategies for COPD Care at Home?
There are several key aspects to living a better life with COPD:
Improve the diet.
A healthy eating plan provides someone with COPD with the extra calories and energy they need to prevent and recover from chest infections and to ease breathing. Specifically, encourage a diet rich in fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts, and seeds with limited processed foods and red meats. It’s especially important to reduce salt intake, as salt causes water retention that makes it more difficult to breathe. It is also helpful to make sure the day begins with a breakfast that’s full of nutrients. This is because fatigue can prevent someone with COPD from getting enough calories, and frequently the individual will have the most energy first thing in the morning. The individual should, however, steer clear of that morning cup of coffee, as caffeine can react negatively to COPD medications and result in feelings of restlessness or nervousness.
Modify the house.
Take a walk through the person’s home, paying special attention first to ventilation and air quality. Windows should be open, when possible, to enhance ventilation, but closed if the quality of air outside is poor, or when conditions are dusty. Exhaust fans and air filtration systems can also help. Make sure the humidity level is balanced. The air shouldn’t be too dry or too humid, both of which could attract irritants. Next, be sure there are no indoor pollutants, such as cigarette or fireplace smoke, perfume, and hair spray. Remove clutter, which collects dust. The home should be kept as clean as possible, using gentle cleaning products without strong scents or harsh chemicals, and changing bed sheets regularly to eliminate dust mites.
Following a daily exercise routine will help a person with COPD build muscle strength and endurance, which can help them breathe easier. Upper body exercises are important for better breathing and to make it easier to remain independent and perform daily activities. Lower body exercises, such as climbing stairs or walking on a treadmill, have also been shown to help those with COPD. Physical activity can be split up into small chunks. As little as a few minutes of activity several times each day is beneficial. Don’t forget to include breathing exercises, such as pursed lip breathing and diaphragmatic breathing, to enhance respiratory strength. Always check with the doctor before starting or changing any fitness program, but a great rule of thumb for breathing exercises includes five to ten minutes, three to four times each day.
Bring in help.
An in-home caregiver from Morning Glory Home Care can help in many ways to enhance life for someone with COPD. Our caregivers are carefully trained and experienced in an array of personalized care services, such as:
- Transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments and outings
- Friendly companionship to brighten each day
- Light housekeeping and laundry
- Providing motivation to exercise, take walks together, etc.
- Preparing healthy meals
- And more