Caring for Seniors with COPD

Millions of Americans suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and many more cases go undiagnosed every year due to the lack of awareness of COPD symptoms. Many people mistake their symptoms for other conditions, causing COPD to be overlooked. COPD is not a single medical condition, but instead is comprised of several different lung conditions, most of which are brought on from smoking.

Most people diagnosed are middle-aged adults, so it’s very common in senior care, although anyone can be diagnosed with COPD. It’s important to diagnose COPD quickly, because it is a progressive medical condition that can be treated successfully allowing patients to live a normal and satisfying life. Early and proper diagnosis helps manage the condition as well as its symptoms, and can slow the progression of the disease while avoiding many of its worst complications. 

Symptoms of COPD 

Patients who have COPD may experience the following symptoms:

  • shortness of breath
  • persistent coughing
  • some level of chest pain in the beginning.

If the condition goes untreated, other symptoms may appear, including:

  • coughing that produces mucus in the lungs
  • breathlessness and wheezing
  • recurring respiratory infections
  • general fatigue that makes it difficult to perform daily activities

Many symptoms occur intermittently, so some days symptoms are light, and others are worse. These flare-ups should be discussed with your doctor, with intentions for treatment.

In-home senior care for COPD Patients 

There is no known cure for COPD, although there are treatments to help the elderly live longer and more rewarding lives. Slowing the progression of the disease, allows seniors to enjoy life as much as possible.

Some common treatments for COPD include:

  • pulmonary rehabilitation, including special exercises and regular patient education
  • adopting a healthier diet
  • smoking cessation
  • medications and inhalers
  • surgical options are also available, and even lung transplants, in very severe cases

Other care options for Seniors with COPD 

Many treatments can occur at home or where ever the senior resides. COPD care depends on the stage of the disease and how quickly it’s progressing. Once the condition progresses into later stages, it may be necessary to have continuous care. In home care is an alternative to residential home care and is often a better solution as the condition continues to progress.

In home care can provide all necessary support for a COPD sufferer. All day-to-day tasks can be handled by in home caregivers, including housekeeping, meal preparation and pet care.  When the condition reaches its final stages, additional care strategies are available, including hospice arrangements. 

At Gentle Shepherd Home Care we provide specialized in home care for people suffering with COPD and its symptoms.  We offer complimentary care consultations to determine your loved one’s needs and the level of care required.  Contact us to learn more and schedule your consultation.


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