Exacerbations or flares are a big deal for someone with COPD. An exacerbation is more than just having a more difficult day with breathing. In its worst-case scenario, an exacerbation could send your elderly family member to the hospital. As her caregiver, you need to know as much as possible about exacerbations and how they might affect your senior. 

Make Sure You Know What You’re Looking For

Caregiver Simi Valley, CA: COPD Exacerbation

The more that you understand about both COPD exacerbations in general and your senior’s own experiences with them in particular, the better prepared you’re going to be. Exacerbations typically manifest as more trouble breathing, increased coughing, and various sounds while your elderly family member is trying to breathe. Those sounds might include wheezes, clicks, rattles, and crackling sounds. Exacerbations can be the first sign you and your senior have that she’s getting a lung infection. Talk to your senior’s doctor about what to watch for with her particular symptoms and to determine the best course of action. 

Prioritize Energy Conservation 

In general, people with COPD really need to conserve their energy as much as possible. COPD itself causes your elderly family member’s body to work harder to get the oxygen that she needs. When she’s spending energy to perform certain activities, that doubles or sometimes triples the energy expenditure her body experiences. Getting help with regular daily activities can ensure that your elderly family member has the energy that she needs to deal with exacerbations and to keep herself as healthy as possible. 

Rescue Medications Need to Be in Easy Reach 

Rescue medications are crucial during an exacerbation. Your senior’s regular medication is vital all of the time, but her rescue medications are ones that she turns to when she’s having significant trouble breathing. Rescue medications are typically inhaled medications. These do have expiration dates, so make sure that you double check them regularly to make sure that they haven’t expired. 

Put Together a Plan for Emergencies 

Having an emergency plan is always crucial, but it’s particularly important during an exacerbation. Rescue medication only takes your senior so far. If she is continuing to have breathing trouble, you might notice signs like her lips turning a shade of blue or that she becomes dizzy or confused. This may be a point when emergency assistance is necessary. Talk to her doctor about what the plan should be in that case. 

COPD exacerbations can be scary, but you and your senior can develop a plan that helps to ensure that she gets what she needs when she starts to experience one. 


If you or an aging loved-one is considering a Caregiver in Simi Valley, CA please contact the caring staff at Absolutely Able Home Care today(818) 714-4026