How to Help a Senior Through an Asthma Attack

Asthma is a condition that has no cure. It causes airways to swell, making it difficult for the asthma sufferer to move air in and out of their lungs. During an asthma attack, the symptoms of asthma become worse. The muscles surrounding the airways tighten up and the body makes more mucus than usual, causing bronchial tubes to get smaller. An asthma attack can be alarming for both the person having the attack and their family members. If you’re a family caregiver for an older adult with asthma, knowing what to do during an asthma attack can make them a little less scary.


Elder Care in Deerfield IL: Senior Asthma Attack

Elder Care in Deerfield IL: Senior Asthma Attack


Recognizing an Asthma Attack

The first step in handling an asthma attack is to recognize when it is happening. Not everyone has the same symptoms, so it’s a good idea to talk to the older adult’s doctor to determine what their individual symptoms might be. Some signs of an asthma attack are:

-Extreme shortness of breath.

-Chest pain or tightness.



-What to Do at Home

-In addition to talking to the doctor about possible symptoms, ask about the senior’s plan for dealing with asthma symptoms and attacks. Some general tips for dealing with an asthma attack are:

-Have the older adult sit up straight.

-Encourage them to remain calm.

-Use the fast-acting or rescue medications the doctor prescribed.


You may also be able to help the senior to avoid having an attack in the first place, which is really the best way to manage them.


It’s important that they use the medications prescribed by the doctor for their condition and follow the plan of care. If the older adult is following the care plan, but their asthma still isn’t under control, talk to the doctor about adjusting the plan.

-When to Get Emergency Treatment

-The Mayo Clinic advises that you should seek emergency medical care under the following circumstances:

-Breathlessness or wheezing is severe, especially if it happens early in the morning or at night.

-Chest muscles are straining to breathe.

-The older adult is so short of breath that they have difficulty talking.

-The symptoms don’t improve after using fast-acting medication.

-Using a peak flow meter shows that peak flow readings are low.


A senior care provider can help your aging relative to manage their asthma by reminding them to take their medications. A senior care provider can also assist the older adult to stay calm during an asthma attack. In fact, just knowing someone is there to help them can allow them to feel less anxious. A senior care provider can ensure the person follows the steps recommended by the doctor during an asthma attack and call for emergency help if needed.


If you or an aging loved-one are considering Elder Care in Deerfield, IL, call the caring staff at LifeCare In-Home Care and Home Health Services. Call (888) 606-4199 LifeCare serves all of the Chicago Metro Area.




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