Is there anything that helps an elder with COPD and their breathing?

Asked by

Besides what the hospital prescribe him? I know his meds are important but sometimes in the mean time it would be nice to give him things such as DIY oils or something soothing to him. I have an 83 year old dad that is in and out of the hospital and sometimes being in the hospital every couple months is tiring. He has slight dementia but otherwise capable of doing things himself without any problems. I get tired of the hospital at times and we only have 1 available where I live so they know him quite well.

Answers 1 to 10 of 20
my dad has the same thing. We have tried oils from doTERRA I think that is the correct spelling. You can get peppermint oil from Whole Foods or a health store like that and doTERRA oils makes one called breathe I believe it's called that you can put be there in a diffuser in their room or you can put it on the soles of their feet and then put their socks on and it really helps. My dad did not like the smell of the peppermint oil he said it was too strong but it was sure nice for me as it helped with the old people smell and the smell of him only bathing every 4 or 5 days :-) I know these oils work also they have cured my sisters psoriatic arthritis wounds on her hands in a matter of days. Good luck to you.
Medications help as do inhalers, oxygen therapy, loosing weight, stopping smoking, and inhalations. Towards the end of life when lung function is severely compromised a small dose of liquid morphine eases the distress of breathlessness.
Many will disagree with the morphine part but if it is suggested at least try it. Yes it is adictive but when given for this purpose which is comfort care the patient will appreciate the effect. make sure the air in the living area is humidified in winter and de-humidified in summer.
With the necessity for frequent hospital stays your dad would be appropriate for hospice care which would lessen the burden on both of you. Why not talk to them and see what services they have to offer and if you feel it would be helpful have them some in. I know the idea of hospice is frightening for many people but they will come and assess your dad and after that you and Dad decide if you want them to sign him up. if you have them for a few weeks and don't feel they are helpful it is easy enough to discharge dad, there is no penalty to discharge and readmitting at a later time. terrygma's suggestions about natural remedies may certainly help some people and I am not against anything that is not actually harmful or interferes with essential prescribed medications. just remember no one can MAKE you do anything so explore all possibilities but keep d's r and pharmacist in the loop.
Grandma drank a splash of whisky in a small glass of water. Back in the 1960's that was all they had for emphysema. Alcohol is both a vasodilator and a bronchodilater. A teaspoon is plenty enough, and less of a problem to obtain than the morphine.
No.
Besides oxygen, maybe a fan in the room and keep it cooler than usual. Maybe a small dose of Xanax from dr. I know my pts always needed room very cool to help their breathing.
Top Answer
Make sure all dust is out of the area your dad is usually in and my dad also breathes better when it is cooler. I have had my air conditioner on for 2 weeks already. My dad also has bad allergies and asthma on top of the copd. Making sure the hose and mask on both the cpap and nebulizer are cleaned often. Water should never be reused that is left in cpap, the water chamber should be dumped and washed out. I am afraid to use any oils etc. air fresheners and perfumes affect him negatively . I am lucky to have a good fan over my oven that vents to the outside because cooking smells were also bad. We are not at the oxygen stage yet but I bought a hand held fan for my dad at the suggestion of the lung doctor .
Mum has COPD and lung cancer. Her nebulizer is a must, but I also keep a fan going at the end of her bed (actually, her couch, since she sleeps there). An RN at the hospital told me to keep it on low and allow it to blow lightly in her face. It seems to be working well for her. Also, avoid humidity during summer. Even the humidity from taking a shower can make breathing more difficult.
Avoid being outside in drastic changes in weather, especially in cold weather as the cold air makes it harder to breathe. When I took voice lessons in my teens, my instructor told me to keep my mouth shut as much as possible (no insult intended) when outside as cold weather was hard on the vocal chords. Although she didn't mention respiratory issues, speaking can be difficult if respiration is difficult, so I decided she offered good advice.

If your father does have to go out in cold weather, bundle up with a nice warm scarf around his neck that he can pull up while in transit from house to car to building. He may have to lower it though if he has difficulty breathing.

If he smokes, definitely encourage him to quit.

Avoid foods with inflammatory agents, especially sugary foods. I’ve experimented with this aspect myself and confirmed that higher sugar foods make it more difficult to breathe, and I don’t even have COPD.

Anti-inflammatory foods such as red fruits and vegetables help decrease inflammation. I eat them for "summer ankles" as well as nasal inflammation if the chocolates demand that I give them equal attention when eating otherwise healthy foods.

Spirometers help strengthen breathing functions. If your father wasn’t given one at one of his hospital stays, you might be able to get one from a DME store. Or ask for one the next time he goes to the hospital.

We bought a HEPA air filter; I use it when I clean as dust always manages to escape and float around. A humidifier in winter helps as well; dry air makes it more difficult to breathe.

Good point about the humidity from showers. Tub bathing might be easier in terms of minimizing humidity.

If your father does any gardening, or works with chemical solvents such as those in VOC paints, avoid those as much as possible. Same with smoking.

Check with your father’s pulmonologist. Ours suggested pulmonary therapy through the affiliated hospital. It also includes improvement of core functioning, but focuses primarily on PT for respiratory issues.

As to oils, the only one I use is eucalyptus oil. I don't recall having read anything in my herbal magazines about other oils, but it's possible I don't remember. But do research quercetin: livestrong/article/19332-benefits-quercetin/ is one source. I wouldn't even consider buying tablets as the ingredient is readily available in foods. I now use only red onions, switched from lettuce to red Romaine and red leaf lettuce. It's easy to add this ingredient into a diet.

Good luck!
Sorry folks, I guess my reply didn't go through. I meant to say, no without the steroids that are usually given for COPD. We opted out of those for my husband because of the side effects and with dementia I want him as comfortable and non-medicated as possible due to possible dizziness and falling. A broken hip at this stage of his illness would be very bad due to his osteoporosis. Cool air is only beneficial if there is a HEPA filter on the machine blowing it, otherwise you are just adding more allergens into the airway and causing more harm. Try elevating the person so the airway is patent (open) and that should help a lot. Do whatever your loved one wants.
all good suggestions. I believe eucalyptus oil is an ingredient in the breathe oil that I mentioned. My dad refuses to quit smoking and refuses therapy and anything else that has to do with improving his care so I had to get creative and try the oils. Of course they did help him but unless I do it for him he won't use them. he is on his way to me now in Oregon from Arizona and being at the lower altitude may help his breathing but he says he's having trouble on this trip so I am Not sure.he says that he needs to start moving and getting more exercise and he needs to stop smoking but he has said that for years and so I know he won't. all I can do is probably get hospice involved and get him some morphine as suggested. he already has the whiskey everyday at 4 o'clock :-). if they won't do anything to help themselves I guess all you can do is make them comfortable. he is driving with my brother in law right now to get here and called me to say he's having a hard time and I said are you wearing your oxygen all the time because he thinks that he's at a lower altitude he automatically doesn't need to wear the oxygen and of course he said no I'm fine. I said okay dad I give up, don't wear your oxygen even though it helps you and when you kill more of your brain I guess we will just put you in a nursing home because you won't know where you are. he just laughed and told me to stop worrying. anyway good luck to everybody here and taking care of your elders

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support