Learn How to Create Breathing Space for Your Loved Ones with COPD
The responsibility of care falls not only on the person who is suffering from COPD-induced difficulty in breathing but also on anyone who lives with them.
The tragedy of COPD is that the symptoms of coughing, difficulty in breathing/breathlessness, and mucus production can be triggered at the drop of the hat. It then becomes the responsibility of both the person and those who live with them to create ease for the lungs.
There are several ways by which you can help yourself or your loved one feel better even with COPD. Living with COPD doesn’t need to be a constant series of difficulties in breathing and hospital visit.
Best Practices for Care of a Loved One with COPD
Identifying the COPD Signs and Symptoms
The best thing you can do to take care of your loved one is to make sure that you know the signs. COPD when it is exacerbated can be difficult to deal with and knowing the signs can help you take your loved one to a hospital early. This can reduce the time spent at the hospital. To monitor the blood oxygen level, try to keep a pulse oximeter at hand.
Changing the flooring to reduce Breathlessness
The trend of using carpet flooring has to change in homes where someone has difficulty in breathing. Carpets can become home to dust, allergens, and other harmful material. If you’re still inclined to use carpets rather than stone floors or wooden flooring, make sure that thoroughly clean it regularly.
Dust particles and other allergens will also occupy space in your sofa cushions and curtains. Make sure that everything in use is clean.
If possible, it is best to make use of professional cleaning services every few weeks/months. Dirt and pollen in these areas can induce COPD exacerbation in the form of coughing and difficulty in breathing.
Installing Wall Attachments for Easy Movement
Patients suffering from COPD easily fall into a fatigued state if they’re moving around a lot. Regular activities can wear them out. Hence it is suggested that the home of a COPD patient should have helpful railings in the bathrooms. The shower should be detachable to allow the patient to use it without having to move extra.
In the kitchen, place level hobs to allow the movement of heavy stuff up and down. The ovens should be ideally placed at a high level so that the person suffering from COPD doesn’t have to bow down.
Reducing the Use of Stairs
Make sure to plan out everything in the daily routine around the use of stairs. Stairs can cause breathlessness in a person already suffering from COPD. You can make it easier for them by installing a stairs chair lift. Otherwise, limiting the patient to a single floor (possibly the ground floor) is the next best option.
Clean Spaces With No Messes
Let’s be honest, the more mess you have in any place, the more chances of dust and other allergens gathering in them. Clean your spaces so that you don’t miss any potentially triggering sites.
Fans Everywhere to Reduce Humidit
Make sure that your bathrooms and your kitchen are not spots filled with humid air. You can achieve this target by making sure that you have fans in the bathroom and the kitchen. Another thing that helps is good ventilation. In the kitchen, extractor fans can reduce the presence of humid air further. Humidity can cause difficulty in breathing. Cover any pot that has something boiling in it, why? To reduce the vapor in the kitchen. It is better to have central heating rather than trying to use wood or charcoal to heat the room.
Use of Air Purifier to Reduce Air Pollution
Air purifiers can help reduce the dust and pollen in the air inside your house. We are not saying that your house is full of toxic fumes, but this extra care can make your loved ones’ life easier. It will also reduce the effort required from your end in cleaning the room.
Ensuring a Smoke-free Zone
Smoking is bad for everyone but it is hazardous for those suffering from COPD. You should make sure that they do not get the temptation to smoke. No one should come into your space and expose themselves to secondhand smoking. Further still, the scent of cigarettes doesn’t just disappear from the room. No one should be allowed to smoke within the premises.
Using Respiration Friendly Materials Only
All of us use aggressive chemicals to clean our homes, these chemicals are not good for the respiratory system on a normal day. For someone suffering from COPD, these chemicals are strong enough to cause difficulty in breathing.
The best alternative to these cleaning chemical fumes comes in the form of naturally occurring ingredients. You can use lemon, vinegar, and other ingredients found in the kitchen to clean your home. It will be great for the lungs and the environment.
Easy Access to Portable Oxygen Concentrator or an Oxygen Tank
If you are housing someone with COPD or any breathing problem really, you should have a supply of oxygen for home use. You can have a portable oxygen concentrator at home- these devices are easily rechargeable. Or you can have a stationary oxygen concentrator unit in the room of your loved one. Alternatively, you can also get an oxygen tank for home use.
We encourage you to check with the physician to see the proper oxygen requirements. Oxygen at home will help you keep the blood oxygen level in the normal range, you can keep a constant check by using a pulse oximeter. Further still, please get a fire extinguisher too. Oxygen is highly flammable and so care needs to be taken.
Keeping Yourself Healthy
The most important thing, keep yourself healthy so that you can properly take care of your loved one. Don’t forget yourself in taking care of your friend/family with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Take breaks, talk to someone and go out because you too matter.
While taking care of someone with COPD is time-consuming, it is also highly rewarding. Your loved one will not have difficulty in breathing. You would promote health for their lungs by utilizing as much care as you can.