Shortness of breath is a common end-of-life symptom that your senior might experience.
It can cause serious physical and emotional discomfort, so finding ways to cope with both real and imagined shortness of breath is essential. You’ll probably find that a mixture of solutions helps more than one or two different solutions used individually.
Make Sure Air Is Circulating
The room might feel comfortable enough to you and to other people, but if your senior doesn’t feel air circulating, she might not feel as able to breathe easily. Consider cracking open a window or turning a fan on. This can help get air moving a little more, which can help your senior to feel more comfortable very quickly. Even a small table fan set to oscillate can make more of a difference for your senior than you might have thought.
Adjust Her Bed or Her Position
Your senior may need to change her position or have her bed adjusted so that she can sit up a little bit more. Some people near the end of life find that lying too flat or in one position can cause them to struggle to breathe. Try a variety of positions after giving her time to acclimate. Pillows, blankets, and bed wedges can all be really helpful in adjusting your senior’s position.
Consider Oxygen Therapy
In some cases, oxygen therapy might be the right answer. If your elderly family member feels as if she’s constantly gasping or unable to get enough air, the constant flow of oxygen can be a huge help. This is especially helpful if your senior has any sort of lung or breathing problems because the thought that she is having trouble breathing can make breathing even more difficult.
Talk with Her Doctor about Medications
End-of-life care providers can help you to talk to your senior’s medical professionals about what she’s experiencing. It might even be possible that medications can help her to relax and to breathe better. Some medications that might not have been as useful for your senior before might be beneficial near the end of her life to break through those feelings that she’s having too much trouble breathing.
Shortness of breath seems like such a small symptom, but it can make your elderly family member seriously uncomfortable. One of the best ways for her to remain calmer at the end of her life is to help her to rest and managing breathing issues can be crucial.