Elderly Asthma

Hello – My elderly mother has suffered with asthma all her life and it has become harder to manage as she ages. She is 82 now and was recently in the hospital due her asthma, weakness and medication mix ups, then rehab and now is home. She also suffers from anxiety which causes the asthmatic episodes to get worse and then it's just a vicious circle.  She takes prednisone, has an inhaler and takes breathing treatments for her asthma…she is also on blood pressure medicines, and the dr also has her on Klonopin for anxiety and Remeron as an antidepressant. My dad and brother are at home with her for now to help manage her medication and take care of her. (We will have Home Health and Physical Therapy coming and possibly someone to help take care of her)

I guess my question is, does anyone have any suggestions on how to help her manage these asthma and anxiety symptoms at home, suggestions on medication she should or should not be taking, any natural supplements that might help, as it seems all she can think about is how sick she is and that she can't breathe? 

Thanks in advance for any help!


Comments 12

  • K8sMom2002

    Hugs, BevyJ, and welcome! Taking care of parents can be a challenge!

    I think you're off on the right start with home health and physical therapy coming in. What happened with the medication mix-up?

    And if her asthma and anxiety were better controlled, is she okay to stay by herself in her own home? 

  • Shea

    It certainly is anxiety-provoking when you cant breathe. AND the medications often have a side-effect of increased heart rate, which can cause anxiety. Part of it is just knowing that. Once you are aware that you might be anxious for a while after your inhaler or nebulizer use, it makes you relax a little. 

    Some things that help me are

    -being in a comfortable calming place when using nebulizers or breathing treatments, often in my bedroom surrounded by blue colors and maybe with relaxing music or a tv show I like on. 

    – going for a meditative walk around the block and trying to pay attention to the plants, houses, weather (not talking too much because it is more relaxing to connect eith nature and the outside)

    – doing a craft project– i recently started learning how to crochet. Drawing in a journal helps too– drawing things you want to feel or eant to bring into your life (great for depression and anxiety). 

    — focusing on what i can control, like keeping the air in my room free from triggers by having an air purifier, keeping dust low, keeping chemicals and fragrances that bother my asthma out– it is nice to have a "safe place" of your own personal design.


    — oh and connecting with others on here!!! It is so nice, you should try and teach her to use the forum here because it is huge to have others around ne whi are going through something similar to me!


  • Melissa G

    Hi BevyJ, welcome to AAFA! So glad that you found us! 

    Cynthia and Shea have given some really good suggestions and ideas. 

    Here is a free online course that you and she can take: .

    Sending you all lots of ! 

  • BevyJ

    Thanks Cynthia! My theory on the medication mix up is…she hurt her back last October and found out she had 2 fractured vertebrae so they gave her options of surgery, brace or pain meds. She took the meds until she could decide what she wanted to do. Well IT WAS HYDROCODONE which got her all confused and she got her normal meds all mixed/messed up. Until then she had always been able to medicate herself and take her blood sugar/manage her diabetes. So at this point we’re trying to get her back on a normal schedule with her meds and get some strength back. 

    Thanks Shea and Melissa for your replies and suggestions!!! Greatly appreciated!!




  • Marie E Natzke


    managing more than 1 health condition can be hard even for a younger person. I have allergic asthma and a inflammatory arthritis/autoimmune disease. I'm on many medications and supplements. Prednisone is used to help both asthma and spine problems and inflammation tendonitis etc. I find it helps to use a pill case with the day of the week on each section. There are many to choose from. You local pharmacy or grocery store carry them. You can also look on-line. I have a few of them and I set them up ahead of time and I'm set for several weeks. I keep my daily and rescue inhaler near my antacid med I need to take before I eat. They are nearby my nasal rinse supplies. This way you know what you have to take and when. If it's not needed it's not in the pill cases.  Hope you Mom feels better soon!!

  • BevyJ

    Melissa, she is doing better with her back…just used Tylenol at rehab and seemed to be enough, she just has to be careful with any movement. 

    Marie…thanks! Yes we have a pill organizer for her prescriptions and will continue to figure out  placements of other needs! Thanks for the suggestions!


  • BevyJ

    Thanks Melissa! Things are going pretty good! Physical therapy, occupational therapy and a nurse started this week. My brother made my dad a chart for the meds and my dad is the only one dispensing them. Mom doesn’t think she is getting stronger, but a little progress each day. She still sleeps a lot, but we’re hoping with the PT it will eventually help with her stamina and endurance. 

    Thanks again for asking! Appreciate everything!!

  • K8sMom2002

    Yay for progress!

    An in-hospital stay can mean a lot of recovery time just from being in bed.

    People can lose muscle mass and strength very quickly when they have bed rest, and it can be frustrating to feel so weak. So I think you're very wise to focus on the progress she's experiencing each day. Hoping you guys will continue to see progress — it does build on itself. 

  • Melissa G

    You are so right, a little progress each day is still progress! A medicine chart for your dad to give your mom her medication is a great idea! 

  • Melissa G

    Bev, thinking about you and your mom.  How is everything going with the chart for medications and the visiting nurse? Is your mom continuing to get stronger?