The Truth about Asthma and Older Adults

By May 12, 2014Archives

Asthma can cause serious problems for older adults. Though it’s a common condition, the highest number of asthma-related deaths occurs in the over 65 age group. Despite the obvious dangers this condition poses, it often goes undiagnosed.

The Asthma Details
As the years go by, completing certain tasks becomes harder. It’s just a simple part of the aging process. This principal also applies in managing asthma, as a senior’s needs are constantly changing. For senior caregivers, following a few simple tips will help to make sure loved ones get the proper care.

One of the most pressing issues senior asthmatics face is technical difficulties with asthma medications and treatments. Caregivers may have a senior loved one who wants to take his or her medication as directed, but simply can’t due to additional complications. For example, seniors can be faced with:

  • Physical issues: Seniors diagnosed with asthma are likely prescribed inhaler medications. For seniors suffering from arthritis, holding an inhaler steady enough to press down and release the aerosol medication can be impossible. Without a caregiver around, elderly adults would likely be unable to administer asthma medications at home.
  • Confusion: Another barrier to asthma treatment among seniors is confusion over the amount of medication used in a nebulizer. Physicians prescribing nebulizer treatments for seniors will always take the time to explain the device and how it should be used. The problem is a lot of seniors pretend to understand what the physician is saying; when in reality, the directions are not clear. Once home, seniors are unsure of how to use the nebulizer and how much medication should be added to the device.
  • Financial Difficulties: Many seniors either don’t have insurance or they have medication coverage that does not cover asthma drugs. As such, paying for monthly medications can be a very costly task. When you consider these people are likely living on a fixed income, asthma supplies cannot be purchased when they are desperately needed.

Senior Caregivers Providing Asthma Care
When caring for an asthmatic senior loved one, report any of the following signs to the family physician:

  • He is awakened by nighttime asthma attacks more than two times in a month
  • He goes to the emergency room for asthma more than twice a year
  • Need oral corticosteroids (a type of rescue medication) more than twice a year

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