Your senior’s first experience with hearing about COPD might have been when she told her doctor she was experiencing shortness of breath far more often than in the past. COPD is a complex illness and it’s progressive. Learning to manage shortness of breath now is going to pay big dividends for her later on down the road.
Exercise Can Help a Lot More than You Expect
You might be shocked to hear that your senior’s doctor may well recommend exercise for her. The reason for this is that exercise helps to move blood and oxygen more efficiently through your senior’s body and it helps to improve the strength of her entire cardiovascular system. Your senior absolutely has to remain within her limits, though, otherwise there is a point of diminishing returns.
Conserving Her Energy Is Crucial
Conservation of energy is a concept your senior is going to become very familiar with as her COPD progresses. This concept says that your elderly family member only has a set amount of energy. Since COPD takes so much out of your senior, she’s only going to have a certain amount of energy left over for other things. So, even though it used to be no big deal for her to be on the go all the time, she is going to have to delegate some tasks now. Elderly care providers can be there for her with those needs.
Practice Pursed Lip Breathing
Pursed lip breathing is a specific breathing technique that helps with shortness of breath in people who have breathing trouble like COPD. To do this technique properly, your senior should relax, slowly inhale through her nose, and then pucker her lips when she’s ready to slowly exhale. Doing this several times in a row can help to calm that feeling that she can’t get enough oxygen.
Reining in Anxiety Is a Necessary Step
Anxiety is a huge problem for people with COPD. There’s the uncertainty about how COPD will affect them in the future, but then there are the immediate concerns that arise every time your senior feels herself gasping for air. The big problem is that anxiety can lead to shortness of breath, which makes her more anxious. This becomes a vicious cycle that she has to get under control.
Finding ways to manage her breathing is going to help your senior immensely. Work with her doctor to put a full plan of action together that will meet all of her needs.