Your senior may want to keep doing as much as possible, even with COPD weighing her down. But it can benefit her greatly to have other people, such as elder care providers, handling the bulk of her daily tasks so that she doesn’t experience these issues.
She’s Coughing More or Experiencing More Chest Pain.
Coughing, especially with an increase in mucus production, and chest pain occur when your elderly family member’s lungs are trying to work harder than they should be. These coughing fits often begin because your elderly family member is out of breath and they end with her being even more short of breath. Talk to her doctor about what she can do to help alleviate pain and other problems with these episodes.
Her Extremities Are Swelling.
The lungs work in concert with the circulatory system to keep fluids moving throughout the body. For someone with COPD, neither system is working as well as it should be. What that ends up meaning is that your aging family member can experience swelling in her legs and sometimes in her hands. This can get worse over time.
She’s Feeling Tired or Weaker than Usual.
The problem with needing more and more energy just to keep doing the basic tasks in life is that it leaves your senior feeling tired and even weaker than she should normally be feeling. When this happens more and more often for your senior, she may find that she often starts tasks and then isn’t able to finish them. That can start to mean that your senior’s home is in a constant state of chaos.
She’s Having Trouble Breathing.
With all of the coughing, weakness, and poor circulation, your senior may start to notice that she’s also having trouble feeling like she’s getting a full breath. Shortness of breath can leave your elderly family member breathing more and more shallowly, which becomes a vicious cycle.
She’s Using Her Rescue Inhaler More.
As a result of shallow breathing, your senior may be using her rescue inhaler more than usual. Even if she uses maintenance medication, rescue inhalers can make a big difference for her. Her doctor may ask her to track when and how often she feels the need to use her rescue inhaler.
The more energy that your senior can conserve the more of that energy her body can use. That becomes more difficult as COPD advances and that’s why lining up help from elder care providers earlier rather than later is an excellent strategy.