How Does Asthma Affect Older Adults?

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Approximately two million Americans 65 and older have asthma, a condition that can be difficult to manage at any age. From getting an accurate diagnosis—asthma is sometimes misdiagnosed as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in older people—to finding an effective way to manage symptoms, asthma presents many unique challenges for seniors. 

 

Diagnosing Asthma in Seniors

Diagnosis includes a review of all medications a senior is taking along with a determination of the level of airway obstruction and the elimination or identification of other pulmonary diseases. Some seniors have asthma that’s compounded by chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Symptoms associated with asthma include: 

 

  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing or wheezing

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, medication reminders, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading provider of home care service Fort Lauderdale families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

 

Identifying Asthma Triggers

Asthma treatment for seniors usually includes minimizing contributing factors as much as possible. Asthma episodes can be especially problematic for seniors, since attacks may lead to respiratory failure. Common triggers include: 

  • Respiratory infections and viruses
  • Excessive exercise or overexertion
  • Allergens and high pollution levels

 

Senior Asthma Treatments

Inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta agonists are some of the long-term medications seniors may be prescribed. Quick-relief, or “rescue,” meds will also need to be kept on hand in case of an asthma attack. 

Many seniors with asthma find it challenging to handle daily tasks without assistance. Homecare professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers.

 

Monitoring Medications

Seniors with arthritis may have difficulty using inhalers, so careful monitoring is important. There may also be some confusion over how much medicine to use with a nebulizer, and higher doses can have unintended consequences. 

Caregivers are encouraged to look for possible asthma symptoms even when there’s no previous history of asthma, since it’s not uncommon for the condition to develop later in life. If symptoms are getting worse, often evidenced by an increased use of rescue meds, frequent nighttime attacks, and the need for more medication refills, it’s time to insist on a trip to the doctor. 

For some families, caring for a senior loved one can be overwhelming at times. Luckily, they can rely on professional respite care. Fort Lauderdale, FL, Assisting Hands Home Care is a trusted name in respite and hourly care. Our caregivers are available around the clock to assist seniors with bathing, transportation, medication reminders, exercise, and much more, allowing families the time they need to focus on other important responsibilities or just take a break. If you need professional home care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today.