Caring for an Elderly Loved One with Asthma

Caregiver in Cherry Creek CO


Asthma is a common chronic illness that causes breathing problems and can prevent sufferers from doing the activities they enjoy.  Elderly adults who suffer from asthma may have an increased difficulty managing their asthma due to loss of strength, weakened immune systems, and other chronic illnesses.   For many elderly adults, asthma is something that they have lived with for most of their lives, but for others, their diagnosis may have been more recent.  In either case, elderly adults with asthma have unique needs that they will need their caregivers to understand.  Here are just a few tips for caregivers who are giving care to an elderly loved one with asthma:


Recognize the Symptoms of an Asthma Attack

Even those with well-controlled asthma can surfer from an asthma attack.  For elderly adults who have weakened bodies and immunity, recognizing an asthma attack and knowing what to do when it occurs is an important job of the caregiver.  The first warning signs of an asthma attack include coughing and difficulty breathing.  As it progresses, an elderly adult may experience short and shallow breathing, coughing that won’t stop, and tightness in the chest.  When a caregiver notices these symptoms it is important that they assist their elderly loved one in using their rescue inhaler.  If symptoms get worse, they will need medical attention right away and it may even be necessary to call 911.


Know the Triggers

Asthma symptoms and asthma attacks are typically brought on by certain triggers.  Each individual may have different asthma triggers, so it is important that caregivers know their loved one’s triggers and help them to avoid them.  Some common asthma triggers include strong scents (like air fresheners or perfume), weather changes, pet hair, air pollution, stress, and viruses like the flu.


Follow the Treatment Plan

Asthma can be effectively kept under control with the proper use of medication.  Caregivers must assist their elderly loved ones in sticking to their doctor’s treatment plan and taking all medications properly.  Many asthma patients will need to use an inhaler, or possibly more than one inhaler.  Some types of inhaled medications may need to be used on a daily basis, and others should be used only during an asthma attack (these are sometimes called “rescue inhalers”).  Caregivers can also help elderly loved ones reduce their exposure to any of their known asthma triggers.


If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring caregiver services in Cherry Creek, CO, please contact Visiting Angels at 303-232-9999.




About Greg Elliott

Greg Elliott founded the Visiting Angels’ office in 2008 after a successful, twenty year career in pharmaceutical sales and management. The original office was located in Lakewood, and has since been relocated to Wheat Ridge to accommodate our ever-expanding team.

“Our goal is to allow Seniors to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. The service that we provide is truly rewarding, and I love the time I get to spend meeting Seniors in our community.”

Greg is a proud graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. He currently resides in Arvada, and loves spending time with his wife and son and their Australian Shepherd . When not at the office, Greg enjoys travel, skiing, golf and fly-fishing.

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