How Can Home Health Care Help With Asthma and Allergies?
Many people in this country suffer from allergies, asthma or both. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 50 million people in the United States have nasal allergies, affecting 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of kids. Asthma is considered an allergic disease and ranks fifth for people of all ages. In fact, it happens to be the third most common chronic disease in children under 18.
While allergies and asthma can certainly be severe in younger people, it’s of special concern for the elderly, many of whom already have compromised immune systems and are at risk for illness. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) says the number of elderly individuals with asthma is expected to double within the next 20 years; and while deaths as a result of asthma are on the decline with every other age group, the mortality rate in the elderly has remain unchanged.
Many seniors are on medication to control their allergies as well as their asthma symptoms. However, as more and more older Americans are living longer and thus staying in their own homes longer, the concern becomes: how can we help them control their health symptoms while allowing them the independence they still crave to live on their own? The answer is home health care.
Controlling Symptoms in Those Who Live Alone
More people are living on their own these days — about 32 million in fact. The biggest increase is among the senior set, with 10% of households containing 65-year-olds living solo, says USA Today. For every senior living alone, there is a concerned daughter, son, sister, brother or other concerned family member trying to juggle their own lives yet check in on their loved one on a regular basis. This can be a tough juggling act, especially for the sandwich generation — those caught between raising their own children and raising their aging parent as well. Those in the sandwich generation likely are still in the thick of their own careers as well — yet another thing to manage on a daily basis.
While they may be able to drop in on their parents a few times a week or call them every day, this leaves a lot of time unaccounted for. During that time when allergy and asthma flare-ups can occur, seniors need daily hands-on care to get the medication they need to function properly. The problem becomes compounded when dementia or Alzheimer’s is involved. Forgotten medication, or too much medication, is a real concern among this set. Going beyond that, though, people with dementia can experience wild mood swings that can lead to a change in behavior and communication patterns. The average person isn’t aware of all the nuances that come with this disease or how to handle someone exhibiting these symptoms.
Home Health Care Solutions
Getting the help you need through home health care services is imperative. You’ll get access to nurses who can evaluate the patient, report back to the physician with an assessment, give hands-on care, and educate the patient about their medication. In addition, they can ensure your loved one is taking the right medications for their symptoms every single day, making it easy to dispense such medication through a carefully outlined regimen. Instead of a table top full of various pill bottles that may confuse your loved one, they can use one dispenser with the appropriate amount of pills in each section. The nurse or other home care provider will remind them to take their pills at the same time each day.
The other side to this is management of symptoms. In the case of asthma, sometimes daily nebulizer treatments are required, which deliver medications to those who have difficulty using an inhaler. This is yet another task a home health care provider can help with, as there are many components to keep track of, from air compressors and cups to masks and tubing, says WebMD.
Because allergy and asthma symptoms in the elderly can be more dangerous than in young people, especially where pre-existing cardiovascular problems are involved, regular home care is needed to properly manage these conditions. Even something as simple as making sure the senior has enough tissues or that the windows are closed during times of high pollen can be of great assistance. Ensuring their comfort when they’re stuffy or wheezing is a daily task that can’t go unnoticed.
If your loved one is living alone and trying to manage allergy and asthma symptoms, you don’t have to bear the burden on your shoulders alone. You need a little extra help, and Pathways Home Health makes it possible. Give us a call at 888-755-7855 to learn more.