If your parent smokes, the likelihood that they will come down with COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is 20 percent. In other words, one in five people that smoke will develop this disease. If your parent has already been diagnosed with COPD, stopping smoking will still benefit them. Dr. Ronald Crystal, a pulmonary disease specialist at Weill Cornell Medical College, believes that, though COPD is a disease that you carry for life, stopping smoke can halt or slow down its progression.
The sooner your parent receives a diagnosis, the sooner treatment can begin and the greater the chance of stopping its progression. It may just be the motivation your parent needs to kick the habit that caused COPD. The symptoms are as follows:
- A nagging cough that does not go away.
- Shortness of breath, particularly with exercise.
- Wheezing and tightness in the chest.
- If your parent goes undiagnosed, the disease may progress to the following:
- Blue coloring on the lips or fingernails.
- Swelling in the ankles and feet.
Difficulty breathing to the point that it is hard to catch their breath or talk when doing some simple movement such as walking.
The main treatment for this disease is to quit smoking. If your parent needs help, SmokeFree 60+ is a government sponsored website that offers tools, tips and online support for seniors trying to break the habit. Their physician may also prescribe an inhaler containing bronchodilators that help open airways, and, at some point, your parent may need oxygen supplementation. Though there is no cure, making simple lifestyle changes can help your parent lead a more active and fulfilling life, and slow down the progression of COPD.
How to Help your Parent
- Make your parent’s meals smaller and easier to digest. Food is medicine, so be sure to choose foods that are rich in antioxidants. Foods that seem to be particularly lung-friendly
include apples, cantaloupes, carrots, blueberries, broccoli and leafy greens.
- Suggest that they rest before eating.
- Exercise has tremendous benefits, especially aerobic exercise. Benefits include improving symptoms, increasing endurance, increasing energy, all the while increasing strength, balance and flexibility.
- Pulmonary rehabilitation is often prescribed by your parent’s physician. If it has not been, find out why. It is a program designed to help those with COPD function at their highest possible level through exercise, education and counseling or group support. It usually consists of nutritional counseling, energy-conserving techniques and breathing strategies.
Elderly Care Provider
COPD can make it difficult for your parent to perform the everyday activities of living, and fear may become palpable when it is difficult to breathe. An elderly care provider can not only assist with these daily tasks, they can also provide transportation, accompany your parent on walks, run errands such as grocery shopping, and prepare lung-healthy meals. One of the most important services they provide is the comfort of companionship.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in New Brunswick Township, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care of New Brunswick today. Call (732) 607-8870.
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