Dear COPD Coach,
My mother has COPD and lives alone. I want to do what I can do help her. Do you have any suggestions on how to make her home safer to prevent accidents while I’m away?
I can certainly understand your concern about your mother living alone. Here are a few ideas that might ease your concerns:
1. Consider purchasing an emergency medical alert system for you Mom. This would include a pendant she could wear to summon help if it would become necessary.
2. Organize her medications, listed by day and time so you and she can track use.
3. If she is on Oxygen, keep an emergency cylinder accessible and instruct her on its use. Make sure that her oxygen hoses are long enough for her to be able to get to areas of the house she needs to use.
4. Make sure phones are located in convenient locations.
5. Install safety bars in the bathroom, specifically by the tub and toilet, and slip proof rugs and bath mats. Also consider getting a tug and shower chair.
6. Purchase shower brushes to aid in bathing.
7. Bathing can sometimes cause breathlessness, purchase a terrycloth robe she can wear until she feels up to dressing.
8. Set regular times during the day to call and check on her.
9. Keep a list of important numbers by the phone should an emergency arise.
10. Keep a list of all medications she is taking and the dosages.
11. Try and keep ready-made or frozen meals available for times she doesn’t feel like cooking.
12. Become educated about COPD. Learn to spot an exacerbation before it becomes severe.
Being a caregiver can be a difficult but rewarding task. The more you learn about COPD, the more proactive you will become in your mother’s care.
The COPD Coach
Ask the Expert is aimed at providing information for individuals with COPD to take to your doctor, and is not in any way intended to be medical advice.
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