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Four Tips for Helping Your Senior Manage Shortness of Breath

Many people with lung illnesses find themselves dealing with something abbreviated SOB, or shortness of breath. Shortness of breath, or even just the fear of being short of breath, can cause your elderly family member to avoid doing a lot of what she loves to do. What you can do for her as her caregiver is to help her find the tools to manage shortness of breath on a daily basis.

Breathing Issues and Anxiety Go Hand in Hand

When your senior starts to feel short of breath, her anxiety levels are likely to rise immediately. Her brain wants to compensate by trying to breathe more quickly and pull more oxygen in. But that can make her anxiety ramp up, causing even more breathing issues. It becomes a vicious cycle and it’s really tough to break. Learning tips to keep that cycle from spinning is really important for your senior.

Pursed Lip Breathing Is Important

There’s a breathing technique that your senior’s doctor may teach her called pursed lip breathing. It’s a simple trick where your elderly family member purses up her lips to exhale. Gradually she should find that she’s breathing slower and that she’s not feeling short of breath any longer. This is a tool that she can use any time she’s feeling any degree of trouble with her breathing.

Exercise May Be Helpful

Moving a little more on a regular basis can be a key part of helping your elderly family member to deal with shortness of breath. The reason that exercise works is that it strengthens her body’s muscles as well as the muscles in her heart and lungs. She may not be able to improve her lung function much with exercise, but she can help herself to experience fewer episodes of shortness of breath.

She Needs to Conserve Energy Whenever Possible

Conservation of energy is an important concept for your senior. When she’s feeling short of breath, her body is working much harder to try to get her the oxygen that she needs. Taking her time doing normal daily activities and letting other people handle some tasks are just two ways that your elderly family member can conserve her energy. Help her to explore more ways to keep some energy for herself.

As a caregiver it’s hard to watch your senior struggling with anything, but especially with something vital like breathing. The more tools that she has to help her with this issue, the stronger she’ll be.

If you or an aging loved one is considering caregivers in Laurel, MT, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare Billings today at 406-839-2390.​​​

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