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Helping Elderly Maintain Healthy Lungs

By Ilse du Bernard, 9:00 am on

When people think about the physical changes that come with getting older, the lungs aren’t the first body part to come to mind. However, aging does affect the lungs and respiratory system. The bones of the rib cage become thinner, the muscles involved in breathing weaken, nervous system changes slow the coughing reflex, and a more fragile immune system can make infections more problematic. In honor of Healthy Lung Month, here are six tips from North Houston Home Care Assistance that can help seniors maintain their lung health.

1. Avoid Smoking

Whether it’s tobacco or marijuana, smoking damages the lungs. Simply breathing in a smoky environment can be harmful. To protect their lungs, seniors should not smoke or spend time around people who do.

2. Stay Active

Being fit makes it easier for the lungs to provide the body with the oxygen it needs, so it’s smart to encourage the elderly to stay active. Walking, tai chi, and swimming are all good choices for older adults.

3. Pay Attention to Indoor Air Quality

Pollution isn’t just a problem outdoors. Mold, pollen and other contaminates can infiltrate indoor spaces too, and the elderly have a harder time clearing particles from their lungs. To breathe easier indoors, improve ventilation, use air filters, and eliminate sources of pollution.

4. Eat Right

The antioxidants found in healthy foods deliver welcome support for the body, so it’s no surprise that seniors who eat right tend to breathe better. Leafy green vegetables are particularly good for the lungs.

5. Get Vaccinated

The elderly generally have weaker immune systems, but vaccinations can provide a welcome boost. Seniors should talk with their doctors about protecting their lungs with a flu shot and a pneumococcal vaccination.

6. Do Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises may seem silly, but these specially designed drills target the various muscles of the respiratory system. Spending a few minutes each day doing breathing exercises can really help seniors maintain lung capacity.

Healthy lungs are important at any age. Seniors who work to maintain their lung health will find it easier to lead active lives and participate in the activities that they enjoy.

For more information on promoting senior health and wellness, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We provide reliable hourly and live-in care, as well as comprehensive dementia, stroke, and Alzheimer’s home care in North Houston. Our caregivers are expertly trained and can help your loved one with grocery shopping, running errands, cooking, light cleaning, personal grooming, and more. Give us a call at 832-412-1345 and request a complimentary in-home consultation.