4 Toxins in the Home Family Caregivers Should Know

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Americans spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. For housebound seniors, this percentage increases. Many homes are not as safe as they should be. Hidden toxins in your senior loved one’s home could harm his or her health. Look for the following four common toxins and take steps to remove them from the home.

1. Lead 

Many seniors live in older homes that may have been painted with lead-based paints. If your loved one’s home was built before 1978, there is a good chance it has lead-based paint. If the paint is covered up by other layers of paint, it’s typically not something to be concerned about. However, if the paint begins to crack or chip, your loved one could be exposed to the dangerous lead. Additionally, homes built before 1986 may have lead in the pipes and solder, polluting the drinking water. Lead exposure has been linked to neurological, gastrointestinal, and renal disorders. Check your loved one’s paint and water for lead and take the steps to remove it to reduce these risks.

If you are the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality senior care, Des Moines Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.

2. Asbestos

Asbestos is a natural mineral that has been used for centuries. Products containing asbestos used to be commonly utilized in homes for fireproofing, insulation, and soundproofing. Asbestos has been linked to several lung diseases, including scarring of the lung tissues, pleural disease, and lung cancer. While most asbestos will not harm your loved one if it’s left alone, home renovation projects could mean he or she will be exposed. Additionally, if your loved one lives in an older home, asbestos-containing products may be lining the water pipes. Get your loved one’s pipes and insulation tested before working on his or her home.

Caring for a senior loved one can be rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming for family caregivers who have other responsibilities they need to focus on. For these families, the perfect solution is respite care. Des Moines families rely on our caregivers whenever they need time to rest, work, run errands, and even go on vacation.

3. Mold

Mold is a hidden toxin that often gets overlooked. A leaky bathroom pipe, a humid living environment, or roof leaks can all cause mold to grow. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mold can cause respiratory issues and hypersensitivity pneumonitis, a condition that is much like pneumonia but can’t be treated with antibiotics. Inspect your loved one’s home for mold and get it removed by a professional to decrease the risk of mold exposure.

4. Hantavirus

Mice are one of the biggest carriers of the hantavirus infection. Hantavirus is a deadly disease that occurs when humans inhale the infected urine, droppings, or saliva of a mouse. The infection causes fever, chills, nausea, and breathing difficulties and may lead to death. Have a pest control company inspect your loved one’s home for mice and remove them. Your loved one should wear a mask until the mice have been removed and the home has been cleaned of urine and droppings.

Removing toxins and minimizing other safety hazards is the first step toward ensuring your loved one’s safety. In the long run, you may need to hire a professional caregiver to help your loved one make healthy lifestyle choices. In Des Moines, home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. If you’d like to learn more about our premier senior home care, reach out to one of our qualified Care Managers today at (515) 264-2438.