Spring offers seniors and caregivers an unmatched opportunity to really enjoy all that nature has to offer — but for millions of seasonal allergy sufferers, the first days of spring can also bring sneezing, congestion, watery eyes, and lots of discomfort.
Allergy season can be a particularly difficult time for seniors. For older adults, allergies can negatively interfere with other chronic health conditions, like joint pain, lung disease, or cardiovascular disease. Importantly, health experts also advise seniors to avoid taking traditional antihistamines, the type of drug most commonly prescribed to treat allergies, as they can cause unpleasant physical side effects and interfere with many other common medicines.
Want to help your senior loved one enjoy the fruits of the spring season, but worried about their seasonal allergies? Here are four important steps you can take to help make allergy season easier for the elderly:
Know the Warning Signs and Be Ready to Talk to a Doctor
It can be easy for family caregivers and seniors to overlook allergy symptoms, or try to ignore them when they return each year. However, the effects of seasonal allergies can be serious. In addition to being inconvenient and burdensome, allergies can pose a risk to older adults who may have respiratory or cardiovascular problems.
If your loved one seems to be impacted by allergies, don’t hesitate to go to a doctor. A healthcare professional can help identify the cause of your loved one’s allergic reactions, and recommend a course of action based on their unique needs — including lifestyle changes, senior-friendly treatments, and even a new diet.
Monitor the Forecast
Just as you might keep an eye out for snow in the winter or swelteringly hot days in the summer, monitor pollen levels in your area during the spring and fall. There are lots of online resources that can help you keep track of the pollen count and allergy forecast near you. Try to help your loved one go outside and plan outdoor activities on days when the allergy forecast is clear, and avoid opening the windows or planning extensive outdoor events when the pollen count is projected to be high.
Keep the Outdoors Out
One of the most effective ways to help your loved one feel more comfortable at home? Take steps to keep pollen where it belongs — outside.
When you and your loved one come in from the outdoors, wash your hands to get rid of allergens. Help your loved one shower regularly, to get rid of allergens clinging to their skin and hair. Take off your shoes as soon as you come inside, and consider helping your loved one change outfits after spending time outdoors. Depending on the severity of your loved one’s allergies, try to keep doors and windows closed as much as possible. Don’t hang clothes to dry on a line or rack outside, as this can cause your loved one’s favorite garments to become covered in pollen, dust, and other allergens.
Keep the Home Clean and Functional
There are lots of steps you and your loved one can take around the house to get ready for allergy season. For instance, you might encourage your loved one to invest in an air purifier, which can help trap and filter indoor allergens. If they have an air conditioner, consider encouraging them to upgrade to a model with a HEPA-certified filter, which is designed to trap outdoor allergens before they get the chance to circulate around the home.
Be sure to help your loved one regularly replace their air conditioner and furnace filters, and keep their air vents clear of built-up dust and debris. Be on the lookout for dust, mold, dander, and other common indoor allergens, and take steps to help your loved one keep their home clean and tidy, all year round.
Ready to Make the Most of Spring and Summer?
After bundling up all winter long, are you and your senior loved ones feeling ready to go out and enjoy the spring sunshine? The personalized support and attention of a senior companion can help make it easier for your loved one to make the most of spring, while remaining safe, healthy, and independent at every step of the way.
That’s where Companions for Seniors comes in!
At Companions for Seniors, our mission is to help seniors live independently and with dignity in the comfort of their own home by empowering them to lead an active and enriched lifestyle, connecting them with their community, and nurturing meaningful relationships.
Our companions are trained and bonded, and can help provide a variety of services designed to help your loved one remain in the comfort of their own home, including assistance with housekeeping, activities of daily living, driving, meal preparation and service, and so much more. Companion care is a flexible, affordable, and customizable option, whether your loved one wants a driver to help them go on fun spring outings, or could simply benefit from having an extra set of hands around the house.
Do you have any questions about helping your senior loved ones thrive while they age in place? Ready to start talking about all of your choices for home care? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us to get the conversation started. We’re here to offer guidance and provide support, in whatever way we can! Give us a call today at 866-910-9020, or get in touch online using the form available here.