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COPD and Your Aging Parent

Home Care in Westwood MA

Diagnosis form and COPD words on blue boardCOPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Those with COPD usually have one or more of the following diseases: chronic bronchitis, emphysema or asthma. Nearly 4 million seniors in the U.S. have been diagnosed with this condition. Smoking is the most common cause of COPD, though inhaling occupational dusts and chemicals have also been a known contributor.

What to Look For

Early detection is critical to successful treatment. Though COPD cannot be cured, it can be controlled. If you notice your loved one is short of breath, schedule an appointment with their health care provider. A chronic cough is another sign of this insidious disease. Wheezing, feeling tightness in the chest, or a cough that produces phlegm are other warning signs. Many people are not diagnosed until a significant portion of their lungs have been affected.

Treatment and Management

Though there is no cure, treatment can slow the progression and, in some cases, medicine can improve lung function and decrease symptoms. If your parent smokes, stopping is vital to both slowing the progression and reducing the symptoms. Due to the increased chance of contracting pneumonia, it’s important that your parent follow viral and bacterial limiting protocols such as washing hands regularly and receiving flu and pneumococcal vaccines.

A Healthy Diet

Eating can increase the need for oxygen. If your parent is on oxygen, they will want to continue its use at meal times. Eating smaller meals more often and including foods high in antioxidants such as berries is recommended. Weak muscles need more oxygen. Exercise will help strengthen muscles. Walking or riding a stationary bike are great starts. Be sure they stop and rest if they develop shortness of breath.


If you or an aging loved one are considering non-medical in-home care in Metrowest Boston, MA, call Griswold Home Care and speak to one of our caring staff members today. Call (781) 559-0073