Indoor air quality affects people in different ways, but seniors are considered especially vulnerable to some of the different types of indoor pollution. Many of us overlook air quality as a factor for maintaining and improving health. However, most of us spend more time inside than outside. Are we breathing clean air in our homes?
Those with asthma, lung disease, or those with compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable. The pollutants can come from dust mites and pet dander, mold spores and viruses, as well as gaseous pollutants like tobacco smoke and the off-gassing from paints, cleaning products and some building products.
The terms “indoor air pollution” and “sick house syndrome” refer to houses so tightly constructed, they lack the natural ventilation that was available in the past. The tight construction in a new home, or one where the homeowner has reduced air filtration using caulking and weather-stripping to save energy, can trap pollutants inside.
HOW THIS CAN HELP SENIORS:
Change the furnace and air-conditioner filters
Forced-air heating and cooling systems have filters that protect the equipment from household dust. Standard filters cannot remove very small particles like mold spores, bacteria and some allergens. To take those types of pollutants out of the system, you will need a high-efficiency filter.
Use natural ventilation
Opening windows and doors can clear the air, but keeping them open or opening them at all in extremely hot or cold weather is not an option. However, you can spot-ventilate at some common pollution sources. Be sure kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans and dryer vents are working properly. These fans remove moisture that could lead to mold growth.
Add houseplants to your home
Adding houseplants to your home can help clean the air. Aloe, spider plants, and snake plants are all reasonably easy to grow and are plants that can help detox your indoor air. The little offshoots can be placed in water to encourage root growth, then planted in a pot of soil to grow another plant.
QUICK TIPS FOR ENSURING A SAFER HOME FOR SENIORS:
TIP #1 – Never leave anything valuable in plain view. Thieves will break into a vehicle simply because something looks of value, or like it may contain something valuable inside of it.
TIP #2 – If you can’t stand comfortably, exercise in a chair. Chair exercise and chair yoga are very effective for improving mobility, flexibility, strength, oxygen intake and positive feelings, to name a few.
TIP #3 – Place non-skid strips on the floor of your shower or bathtub. Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury among seniors.
TIP #4 – Arrange to have Social Security checks direct-deposited to your bank. This will reduce the risk of having your money stolen or being scammed out of your check.