During National COPD Month you and your elderly family member might want to focus on one of the side effects of COPD that can be among the most frustrating. Fatigue is something that she may struggle with on a daily basis, but you can help her to manage it.
Fatigue Is Very Real with COPD
Sometimes people with COPD start to think they’re imagining that they’re more tired than usual. Or they think they just need some more sleep. But fatigue is a very real part of COPD. And it needs to be something that you and your senior pay close attention to on a regular basis.
Her Body Is Working Really Hard
The biggest reason for fatigue with COPD is that your senior’s body is working extremely hard to get the oxygen that she needs and to get that oxygen where it needs to go. Even when your elderly family member is not doing anything other than sitting in a chair, her body is working overtime. That can wear her out fast.
Her Quality of Life Can Suffer
The bottom line is that when your aging adult is fatigued all the time, they can’t do things they love to do. Her overall quality of life is going to go downhill, fast. It’s critical that you and she work with her doctor to find ways to manage her fatigue. If you don’t, she may end up needing intensive medical care sooner than either of you anticipate.
She Might Get Depressed
Fatigue and COPD together rob your senior of a lot that she used to take for granted. When this happens, it’s not unusual at all for people to experience depression. As she gains back some of the ground she’s lost to fatigue, your senior may find that her depression lifts, too. Something else that helps is to find and focus on the activities that they can still do.
Standard Self-care Can Help
Managing fatigue is not necessarily easy, but it can be done. It starts with some of the standard self-care items that make the “to do” list for most people. Exercising within the guidelines set forth by her doctor, eating healthy meals, and getting plenty of quality sleep are the big three that she should focus on first. From there, your senior may also want to talk to her doctor about vitamin supplements or other ways to keep herself as healthy as possible.
One of the best things that you can do for an elderly family member who is battling COPD and fatigue is to take as much of the load off her shoulders as you can. Hiring elderly care providers is an excellent answer because they can handle tasks that simply burn energy for her. She doesn’t have to do everything on her own and with their help, she won’t have to.