The elderly spend much of their time indoors so the quality of the air inside the home becomes very important. Poor air quality affects older people more. As our bodies age, they don’t compensate as well for environmental issues. Those who suffer from lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, or asthma become particularly susceptible to poor indoor air quality.
Poor indoor air quality is caused by:
- Poor ventilation – not enough air exchange with outdoor air
- Pets – dander, fur and litter box fumes
- High humidity levels, which can create mold
- Smoking or burning candles
In New Mexico’s climate, our high winds push outdoor dirt into our homes, so dust can be a larger factor here than in other regions. Our proximity to mountains and their very dry fuel sources have led to massive wildfires recently. That smoke is also a huge issue for air quality for the elderly, as well as everyone who has breathing issues.
To improve the air quality indoors, these tips are recommended:
- Keep windows and doors tightly closed when it’s windy or smoky outside
- Change the air filters frequently in the heating, cooling and ventilation system
- Use cooking vents to pull the warm air out of the home during meal preparation
- Vacuum, dust and sweep frequently; keep the litter box in a contained space and change daily
If you or your senior family member spends time outdoors, an air quality index shows the daily air quality trend. Visit https://www.airnow.gov/, then enter your zip code. If breathing comfortably seems to be becoming more of a concern, a visit with the person’s physician to check his or her O2 level may be needed or perhaps the addition of supplemental oxygen in the home.
While indoor air quality becomes increasingly important to the elderly, especially those with lung-related health issues, their ability to clean and care for the home may be lessoning. For many families, there comes a point where their family member needs assistance to stay safely in the home.
At BeeHive Home Care of New Mexico we offer in-home care services for your elderly loved ones. Caregivers can assist with the activities of daily living, meal preparation, personal care and even transportation. We serve in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe and a number of other communities in New Mexico. If we can be of help to you or your family, please give us a call.