Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a term now used to define a group of diseases. Your parent may have emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma or a combination of more than one of these diseases which are now linked all under one term: COPD. In most cases, the experience may range from mild irritation to feeling like they cannot get enough air or oxygen.

Your Role as a Caregiver

Chronic bronchitis increases the risk of getting an infection. If someone with COPD does get an infection, they have an increased risk of it becoming a serious problem that can lead to increased difficulty breathing. To aid in keeping viruses and bacteria at bay, help them develop these habits:

  • Wash their hands on a regular basis. This includes when they return home from a public location and anytime before they eat.
  • If the flu or another illness is peaking in their area, suggest they refrain from public places with large amounts of people such as malls. Make their home a “no sick” zone and ask friends and family that they refrain from visiting when they are sick, even if it’s just a mild cold.
  • Add zinc to their daily multi-vitamin routine. Zinc has been shown in numerous studies to reduce the chance of infections. According to an article in US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, Junaiday Barnett, PhD and others “presented evidence from the literature, including work we did recently, that low zinc status (commonly reported in the elderly) impairs immune function, decreases resistance to pathogens, and is associated with increased incidence and duration of pneumonia.” Be sure to check with your parent’s primary health care provider before providing supplements as some can interfere with medications.
  • Make sure their diet is loaded with antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables and that they are including some daily form of activity to the best of their abilities. Yoga has been shown to help those suffering from COPD.

Other things you can do to help your parent include keeping their home dust-free and reducing any indoor air pollution. Certain houseplants can improve air quality. A few good choices include Peace Lily, Bamboo Palm, Chinese Evergreen and Florist’s Chrysanthemum. Make sure to properly care for plants and soil so that they don’t harbor mold. Ensure that the rest of the house is mold free as well and use vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters. Remove carpets, and
avoid aerosol sprays and scented products.

Elderly Care Provider

An elderly care provider can assist your parent by preparing meals, shopping, running errands, performing light housekeeping and helping with daily hygiene. They can accompany your parent on social outings and provide the companionship that is a vital aspect to a life well-lived.


If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Eagan, MN, and the surrounding areas, please contact the friendly staff at CareBuilders at Home Minnesota. Call today 612-260-2273.