Emphysema is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, that can affect aging adults quickly and seriously. It is the result of many years of damage to the air sacs in the lungs and has a big impact on their quality of life and whether they can live independently in their own home. For aging adults that struggle with emphysema, hiring a senior care provider can help ease the burden of daily tasks.

How Emphysema Affects Aging Adults.

Because the air sacs in the lungs are damaged with emphysema, they are limited in how much oxygen they can process as the air flow is limited. The most common symptoms include wheezing, coughing, mucus, weight loss, fatigue, blue-tinted fingernails, blueish lips, frequent lung infections, and problems with sleep. While smoking is the leading trigger for the disease, it can also happen to non-smokers, too. Of course, these symptoms are common in other lung conditions as well, so it’s important for family caregivers and senior care providers to make a doctor’s appointment right away to rule out other breathing issues.

The chronic coughing and difficulty with breathing means that the aging adult often struggles with physical tasks, and even something like walking up stairs can bring on fatigue. They will have a hard time doing daily tasks necessary for comfort and safety, including housekeeping, preparing meals, and dressing themselves. That’s why so many aging adults with emphysema must rely on family caregivers, senior care providers, friends, and community services to remain in their homes with the disease.

Treating Emphysema in Seniors.

There is no cure for emphysema, and it is the result of many years of damage to the lungs. Emphysema is also permanent and while the symptoms can be treated, there is no possibility of recovery from the damaged air sacs.

The best ways to treat the symptoms of emphysema is to help aging adults avoid any triggers for a flare-up. Common triggers include asthma attacks, bronchitis, exposure to smoke and air pollution, and food allergies that result in respirator issues. Doctors will prescribe medication to help keep wheezing and coughing from getting out of control. Respiratory therapy can also help seniors do better with emphysema. The respiratory therapist helps them breathe properly via exercises. Finally, seniors with emphysema need a lot of rest, which Is why senior care providers are so important.

Emphysema, as well as any other COPD, will have a serious impact on how aging adults can take care of themselves. Family caregivers that want their aging loved one to still live at home, despite a diagnosis of emphysema, need to figure out ways for long-term assistance. Hiring senior care providers may be the best chance that elderly adults with emphysema have to age in place at home.


If you or an aging loved-one are considering senior care in Palm Desert, CA, talk to the caring staff at Cambrian Home Care today. (562) 498-1800 / (877) 390-4300



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I am indeed grateful to the Cambrian services. How comforting to have a reliable person to care for me and my home. My mind is strong, my body is not, so there is Cambrian. Thank you Cambrian.- Betty P.








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