Coughing. Difficulty breathing. Wheezing. If you’re caring for a loved one with COPD, you know these symptoms all too well. Your aim is to help the person live their highest possible quality of life, but it’s not easy. Despite the fact that there is presently no cure available for COPD, it is treatable, and there are steps you can take as a family caregiver to help.
What Can You Do to Improve COPD Care at Home?
There are several key aspects to living a more rewarding life with COPD:
Improve the diet.
A healthy diet plan provides someone with COPD with the extra calories and energy they need to prevent and recover from chest infections and to ease breathing. In particular, encourage a diet high in fresh veggies and fruits, nuts, and seeds with limited processed foods and red meats. It’s particularly crucial to reduce salt intake, as salt causes water retention which makes it harder to breathe. It’s also helpful to make certain the day begins with a breakfast that is packed with nutrients. The reason being, fatigue may prevent someone with COPD from getting enough calories, and frequently the individual will have the most energy first thing in the morning. The person should, however, stay clear of that morning cup of coffee, as caffeine can react negatively to COPD medications and lead to feelings of restlessness or nervousness.
Following a daily exercise routine will help someone 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 stay independent and perform daily activities. Lower body exercises, such as walking on a treadmill or climbing stairs, 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 per day is beneficial. Make sure to include breathing exercises, such as pursed lip breathing and diaphragmatic breathing, to enhance respiratory strength. Always check with the doctor prior to starting or changing any exercise plan, but a good rule of thumb for breathing exercises includes five to ten minutes, three to four times per day.
Modify the house.
Take a walk through the individual’s home, paying special attention first to ventilation and air quality. Windows should be open, if possible, to improve ventilation, but closed when the air quality outside is poor, or when conditions are dusty. Air filtration systems and exhaust fans can also help. Make sure the humidity level is balanced. The air should not be too dry or too humid, both of which can attract irritants. Next, make sure there are no indoor pollutants, such as cigarette or fireplace smoke, perfume, and hair spray. Eliminate 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.
Bring in help.
An in-home caregiver from Anthem Home Care can help in many ways to enhance life for someone with COPD. Our caregivers are fully trained and experienced in a variety of personalized care services, such as:
- Light housekeeping and laundry
- Transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments and outings
- Preparing healthy meals
- Providing motivation to exercise, take walks together, etc.
- Friendly companionship to brighten every day
- And more