As the family caregiver, you want what’s best for your aging loved one. Making sure their home is clean and hazard-free is a top priority but what about the air quality? Studies show that indoor air quality can be as bad or worse as outdoor air quality in polluted cities. In some cases, indoor air quality may be 10 times more toxic than the outdoors. With a mixture of bacteria, dust mites, skin cells, mold, pet dander, pollen, smoke and more, indoor air in an elderly person’s home can wreak havoc on their health.
Seniors can suffer a number of health issues due to poor indoor air quality. Besides irritated eyes and throats, the elderly can develop chronic respiratory problems. Other health issues that arise from inhaling airborne pollution are asthma, nausea, headaches, fatigue, cognitive impairment, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and even cancer. Family caregivers definitely need to focus on improving the indoor air quality for their aging loved ones.
While it’s impossible to eliminate every contaminant in the air, there are many things that family caregivers can do to help. Here are a few ways to boost clean air and reduce the concentration of indoor pollutants:
- Use a high quality vacuum twice a week on carpets and once per week on upholstered furniture. This will eliminate lots of pollutants and prevent them from getting stirred up into the air again.
- Avoid using heavily perfumed laundry products, hair spray, aerosol cleaners and air fresheners. They release chemicals that add to the indoor air pollution.
- Alternate between dry sweeping and wet mopping hard floor surfaces to get rid of irritants that have settled on the floor.
- Place thick mats near entryways to reduce the amount of outside pollutants making their way inside. Since pollen and particles can also come in on clothing, put a coat rack near the door so residents and visitors can hang outerwear up right away.
- Open the windows to bring in fresh air, but watch the local news for outdoor air quality reports and keep them closed on days with lots of pollution and lots of pollen.
- Adorn each room with houseplants, because some species are effective air cleaners. Top varieties include spider plants, Boston fern, snake plant, ficus, peace lily and chrysanthemums.
- Adding electric air purifiers to main rooms helps clean the air immensely and they are very effective at removing allergens and much more.
- Eliminate indoor smoking, either by helping an aging loved one to quit or assisting them in going outside to smoke. Friends and family members should also be banned from smoking indoors.
It’s easy to ignore indoor air quality because it’s something you don’t really notice or see. However, the impact that it has on an elderly person’s health can be significant. Taking the time to clean and care for the air will boost cognition, improve overall health and reduce the risk of certain respiratory ailments. Without clean indoor air, seniors are more likely to develop health problems and have a harder time resisting certain illnesses.
If you or an aging loved one are considering caregivers in Bellevue, NE, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors® Greater Omaha at (402) 215-0308 today.