Seniors with COPD have needed to remain especially watchful since the COVID-19 pandemic started, because they are likely at both an increased risk for contracting the virus and also for developing more serious complications as a result. A recently available study published by the European Respiratory Journal reported that COPD patients were more likely to be admitted to the ICU, require ventilator care, and succumb to the virus compared to those without the disease.
And even though the CDC provides tips for all of us, including individuals diagnosed with COPD, in order to avoid contracting the illness, such as frequent handwashing, social distancing, and staying home as much as possible, one advisory is particularly challenging for an individual with breathing difficulties: wearing a face covering. The American Lung Association suggests that those with COPD try a variety of various kinds of coverings to discover the one that’s most comfortable, and wear the mask around the house for short periods of time to become more familiar with the sensation.
Further recommendations include:
- Continue to take care of your COPD as advised by the doctor, with adjustments to curb your contact with others, for example, telehealth appointments and mail-order prescriptions.
- Improve your body’s defense system with a balanced diet and lots of rest, and be sure to follow the physician’s recommended plan for treatment.
- Take proper care of your emotional health to reduce stress and anxiety. Switch off the news and social media and participate in relaxing and rewarding activities instead. And be sure to talk to a mental health professional if needed for assistance with managing stress and preventing depression.
Of particular importance for everyone with COPD is the need to have regular physical exercise. According to David Au, MD, professor at the University of Washington Medical School’s division of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine, due to the fact that COPD causes shortness of breath, physical activity is particularly challenging. He, and the Respiratory Health Association, recommend (with physician approval):
- Aim for no less than 30 minutes of exercise at least 3 times every week.
- Try leg lifts, marching in place, and arm circles, making use of canned goods or small weights.
- Go up and down stairs
- Include yoga breathing exercises.
These resources for living with COPD are targeted to the challenges facing individuals with this condition during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- The American Lung Association
- The Respiratory Health Association
- The COPD Foundation
- Living with COPD
For knowledgeable in-home care for individuals diagnosed with COPD or other chronic conditions, get in touch with Home Sweet Home In-Home Care. Our staff are professionally trained and experienced in providing customized elder care in Portage, MI and the surrounding communities in order to make life safer and much more enjoyable. Reach out to us online or call us at (269) 373-5444 in Kalamazoo, (269) 763-5350 in Paw Paw, (269) 849-9252 in St. Joseph, or (269) 963-9888 in Battle Creek to share the challenges you are facing, and also to let us explain more about how our in home care in St. Joseph and the surrounding areas can help. For a full list of the communities we serve, please visit our Locations page.