Caring for Older People with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease


Caring for the Older Person with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Wednesday, November 17th, marked World COPD Day 2021. An event set up to raise awareness of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and ensure everyone who has COPD or may have the condition has access to the care and information they need to manage the condition effectively.

There are an estimated 3 million people actively living with COPD in the UK alone, many of which go undiagnosed. This is put down to a lack of awareness surrounding the condition’s symptoms, and it can be easily mistaken for something else. If you suspect you or a loved one have the condition, it is vital to seek a diagnosis, the condition is progressive, but there are treatment and care options that allow sufferers to live a long and active life.

What is COPD?

COPD is a group of lung conditions that are primarily caused by smoking. Some of the most common of these conditions are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Most sufferers are diagnosed in later life, although it does not exclusively mean younger people cannot be diagnosed with the disease.

COPD usually develops over a long period and is caused by long term exposure to irritants, such as tobacco. Diagnosis can be a slow process and is generally done through several blood and lung function tests. There is no cure for COPD, but many treatments are available to enable sufferers to have a good quality of life. If you suspect an elderly loved one is suffering from COPD, encourage them to visit a healthcare professional undiagnosed COPD can lead to fast progression and conditions such as heart disease.

The most common symptoms of COPD are breathlessness, wheezing, a chesty phlegmy cough, and persistent chest infections. If the COPD has progressed, additional symptoms including fatigue and weight loss, frequent colds and chest tightness may also be present.

Care options for COPD

While there is no cure for COPD, treatments and care options are available to help your loved one live a full life. Having the proper care and support in place is critical when living with a chronic condition, especially as the disease progresses. One option that might suit your loved one is live-in care.

Live in care provides dignity, independence and great peace of mind. To be in familiar surroundings, with treasured possessions, beloved pets, friends nearby, while receiving tailored, professional care enables elderly relatives to live well – and be as healthy and happy as they can be. It offers the least restrictive environment , with no rules that might apply in an institutionalised setting.

A carer with experience with conditions as complex as COPD can be on hand to help with all aspects of care and help with household tasks that your loved one may find they cannot do as easily as their condition progresses and manage their medication treatment too. This gives you peace of mind that your loved one is in the best possible hands.

However, you choose to support a loved one with COPD being aware of the condition, signs of progression, and getting the proper support can mean they live a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Want more support or guidance ? Call one of our care advisers for a friendly chat: 01494 917344