Does Low Quality Indoor Air Affect the Elderly?

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Elderly Care in Ashburn VA: Does Low Quality Indoor Air Affect the Elderly?
Elderly Care in Ashburn VA: Does Low Quality Indoor Air Affect the Elderly?

There are plenty of studies that show the detrimental effects of poor indoor air quality. Dust mites, skin cells, mold, pollen, dust, dirt and other pollutants can create bad air inside, sometimes in higher concentrations than the outdoors. While bad indoor air quality can affect the health of just about everyone, elderly people are particularly at risk.

Low quality indoor air can aggravate respiratory problems and make existing health issues even worse. Anyone involved in elderly care should educate themselves on air quality and how to improve it for their aging loved one.

How Does Air Quality Become Poor?

It’s easy to ignore all the particles in the air because they cannot be seen, but there are millions of them in any given room. Bacteria, pollen, dust, dirt and more are brought in from outside or generated indoors. These accumulate rapidly, and with no outside air to disburse them, they end up highly concentrated and taken into the lungs with every breath.

Poor air quality is also more likely in the home of someone that doesn’t get outside as much, spending lots of time inside. Also, it’s more common in homes where there isn’t a regular cleaning schedule, which allows bad air to linger. Homes of smokers and homes with pets are also good candidates for poor air quality.

How Does Poor Air Quality Harm Seniors?

Seniors have a weaker immune system, which means they don’t have a strong ability to resist irritants and pollutants. The elderly can suffer from coughs, irritated eyes, nausea, ear and nose problems, headaches, and more. Numerous age-related issues can also cause them to be more susceptible to problems with low air quality.

Prolonged exposure to bad indoor air can lead to asthma, irritation to eyes and nose, upper respiratory illnesses, nosebleeds, nausea, limited vital organ functions and more. Seniors may even experience complications for conditions that aren’t connected with the respiratory system. Health complications are almost inevitable in the elderly that live in a place with poor indoor air quality.

How Can Poor Air Quality Be Improved?

Taking a proactive approach to cleaning the air indoors can greatly improve the quality. Here are a few things that everyone involved in elderly care can do to reduce the concentration of pollutants.

  • Vacuum twice per week with a quality machine.
  • Mop up hard surface floors at least once per week.
  • Regularly bathe pets to reduce dander.
  • Open windows except on high pollution or high pollen days.
  • Eliminate artificial sprays like hairspray, air fresheners, furniture polish and similar products.
  • Place indoor plants in key areas to act as natural air purifiers.
  • Invest in electric air purifiers with allergy-level filters.
  • Change the home’s air filter regularly using high quality material.

The health benefits of keeping an elderly person’s indoor air quality high are impressive. Not only will they feel better with existing issues, they will be less likely to develop new respiratory conditions as well. Family caregivers can take care of the cleaning aspects themselves or hire housekeepers or home care aides to assist. No matter what, there are few things as important as breathing clean air, especially for an elderly loved one’s continued good health.


If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Ashburn, VA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 982-0050.