For the elderly, asthma complications can quickly become serious: According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the majority of asthma-related deaths in the United States occur in adults over age 65. And when it comes to taking asthma medications, there’s room for improvement. A mere 37 percent of seniors say they regularly take their inhaled corticosteroid, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine.
Many elderly adults struggle to stick with their prescription medication regimen. But inhalers can help control the chronic inflammation that can lead to asthma flare-ups, so it’s critical to use them regularly.
Fortunately, there’s help. In response to his findings, study author Dr. Alex Federman, associate professor of Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York City, said there are several rituals that can help older adults manage their inhaler use more effectively. Here are a few simple ones to incorporate into your daily routine—and start breathing easier:
1. Keep your medication in a usual location. Rather than moving it from one room to another, park it in one spot, such as the bathroom.
2. Add your inhaler to an already regular routine. For instance, make it a habit to always use your inhaler after brushing your teeth.
3. Use it at a specific time. If you make using your inhaler part of a regular routine, such as getting dressed in the morning, this one’s easy. Or make it a point to use your inhaler with a meal.
4. Take it with other medications. Do you normally take your pills before breakfast, or in the middle of the afternoon? Use your inhaler then, too.
5. Use other reminders. Find other ways to jog your memory, such as setting an alarm.
By Marygrace Taylor