"How should I take care of my aging, asthmatic mother?"
She doesn't have anyone around. How can I help her?
As patients age, they require increased support at home to accomplish their activities of daily life (called ADLs), especially if they have lots of medical problems. Ultimately, your mother, your family, and her physician(s) want to make a decision that will keep her safe while preserving as much of her independence as you can. The steps to doing this are: 1) Make sure her medical conditions are well-managed. Your mother should at least have a primary care physician assess her asthma and get her the appropriate diagnostic tests and medications if she has not already done so. If her asthma is severe, she may benefit from seeing a pulmonology specialist. 2) Assess and modify the home situation. Your family, or better yet, professional physical therapists and occupational therapists, can do home visits and assess whether it is safe for her to live there. Small adjustments can be made (bars on the walls, shower bars, shower chairs, special beds, etc) can be made to make the home situation. If not, she may need to move in with a family member or have a family member move in with her. If this is not possible, moving into an assisted living facility or skilled nursing facility may be a good option. It is best to consult a primary care physician or, better yet, a geriatrician to help make the above decisions.
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