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How to Find the Right Assisted Living Community With a Respiratory Illness

Guest post by Daniel Setter

If you didn’t already know, October is National Healthy Lung Month. This is a great time for people to raise awareness about the various conditions affecting the lungs and plan a lifestyle that promotes better health. 

No matter your age, it’s never too soon or too late to help your lungs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 39 percent of lower respiratory disease cases are preventable. What this means is that any little thing you can do to raise awareness will have a lasting impact on not only your own life but the lives of everyone around you.

Since October is only a few days out, we felt there would be no better time to talk about finding an assisted living facility that accommodates your lung or respiratory condition. If you’re in the process of finding a place to live, be sure to take the following into consideration in order to breathe easier and have more peace of mind.

Environment

The living environment of your new home will have a major impact on your respiratory system’s well-being. Living in an area that’s stuffy, dirty, or polluted will exacerbate your lung symptoms and leave you feeling groggy and anxious. Alternatively, if you can find a place that’s comfortable and clean, you’ll have a much easier time managing your condition. 

First and foremost, you should find a community that’s not in a busy and crowded area. Urban areas tend to be much more polluted than rural ones and they’re also noisier which can cause anxiety or worry. Instead, search for a community without these unnecessary distractions. Calm and quiet neighborhoods should be the first place you look.

Another thing to consider is seasonal allergies. Pollen is a substantial concern for people with chronic lung conditions because when it’s inhaled, it will irritate your airways and lungs, and increase mucus production making it difficult to breathe. While it’s nice to live in an area with lots of plants and trees, you should take the time to consider the type of plants and whether they produce pollen or not.   

Cleanliness

Although cleanliness is along the same lines as “environment,” it’s worth noting separately. What many people don’t understand is that the indoor air that they breathe can often be just as polluted or more polluted than the air outside the home. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), things like mold, secondhand tobacco smoke, and even cleaning supplies can make indoor air unsafe to breathe. 

In light of this, you need to find a community that’s committed to cleanliness and that is conscious about the potential effects a dirty environment could have on your respiratory health. Next time you visit an assisted living facility, be sure to ask about their cleaning services. Ask them if they clean daily, how often they service their HVAC systems, and whether or not they inspect their rooms regularly.   

Diet

Believe it or not, your diet has a huge impact on your respiratory wellness. Every time you inhale, oxygen is transferred to the blood and carbon dioxide is transferred out of the lungs. The food you eat can impact how efficiently this process occurs.

According to the American Lung Association, metabolizing carbohydrates produces more carbon dioxide waste in the body, while metabolizing fat produces less. For many people coping with COPD or asthma, diets high in healthy fats will help them breathe easier. What’s more, there are a variety of other nutrients that chronic respiratory disease patients need in order to stay healthy.

With that being said, you need to find an assisted living facility that can accommodate this. If they have a meal plan, make sure they are able to make adjustments that will help you stay healthy. You should also stay in touch with your doctor, pulmonologist, and dietician to ensure you’re maintaining a healthy diet.  

Exercise

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a key component of treatment plans for conditions like COPD, cystic fibrosis, and other respiratory diseases. It’s a program that’s designed to teach you about your condition and exercise techniques that will enhance lung function and help you breathe easier. Some patients perform pulmonary rehab on their own while others visit a specialist once or twice a week. Either way, it’s important to ensure you have all the resources you need to exercise safely and effectively.

On the other hand, you shouldn’t choose an assisted living home that may cause you to overexert yourself. Patients with chronic respiratory disease need exercise, but too much exercise can be harmful. Depending on your age and the severity of your condition, you may need additional amenities to help you get around. Be sure to consult with the property manager beforehand to learn more about this.   

Expertise

When it comes to managing chronic respiratory disease, any expertise you can have access to will help. COPD and asthma patients need to schedule regular doctor appointments and often require assistance using medical oxygen or administering medication. While the level of care will vary from patient to patient, most people will need some form of an expert to help care for them.

You should also consider the location of the assisted living facility. While you want to be in a more rural area in order to avoid pollution, you still need to be close enough to your doctor to make weekly or monthly appointments quick and painless. Many assisted living homes also offer shuttle services to help residents get to appointments or perform daily tasks like grocery store visits. 

Conclusion

With National Lung Health Month right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to do something great for your lungs. If you’re considering long-term care, there’s no better way to help your lungs than to find an assisted living facility that accommodates your needs. There are a lot of things to take into consideration, but the more meticulous you are when making a decision, the more peace of mind you will have later on. If you’re having trouble deciding, be sure to speak with your doctor or pulmonary specialist.

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