5 Tips for Diminishing the Risk of Lung Cancer in the Elderly

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Lung cancer is a disease that damages cells in the lungs, causing them to mutate or change. This condition is one of the leading causes of death among older adults. However, making smart lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of this disease and keep seniors in good health. Here are some of the steps you can take to reduce your aging parent’s risk of lung cancer.

1. Serve Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables

The antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables can fight against dangerous toxins and enhance lung health. Most fruits and vegetables contain high levels of beta carotene, which is a vitamin A precursor that can protect the lungs and keep them functioning normally. To reduce the risk of lung cancer, aging adults should add the following foods to their diets:

• Apples 
• Apricots 
• Pumpkins 
• Sweet potatoes 
• Kale 
• Spinach 
• Broccoli 
• Collard greens

2. Discourage Smoking

Tobacco smoke contains a mixture of thousands of chemicals and poisons that can cause lung cancer. Older adults are at risk of lung cancer if they continue to smoke cigars or pipes or use other tobacco products. If your loved one smokes, encourage him or her to give up the bad habit and replace it with healthy snacking, exercise, and positive social activities that can lower stress. Seniors also need to avoid secondhand smoke to decrease the odds of developing lung cancer. 

If your loved one does develop this disease, you might want to consider bringing in professional home care to help. Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Milford, Connecticut, seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

3. Test the Home for Radon

Radon is an odorless, colorless, radioactive gas that can move into underground water and surface water as well as into the air. When radon gas hits the air, it breaks down into radioactive elements that can lodge in the lining of the lungs and give off radiation. The radiation can damage cells and cause lung cancer. Testing can detect high levels of radon in the home, which can be remedied to reduce your loved one’s risk of lung cancer.

4. Encourage Regular Exercise

Excessive weight can cause abnormalities in the lung cells, increasing the risk of lung cancer. However, moderate exercise can lower the risk and enhance quality of life. Older adults should try to be as lean as possible to protect their lungs. Exercising for at least 30 minutes a day for three days each week can keep your loved one in good physical shape and boost his or her lung health. 

You may not always be able to personally make sure your senior parent gets the exercise he or she needs. Milford respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.

5. Visit the Doctor Together

Sometimes seniors have been exposed to dangerous toxins without knowing it, and regular doctor visits provide the opportunity to get lung screenings and tests that detect exposure to harmful chemicals. Your parent’s primary care physician can also provide information on how to protect the lungs, such as a list of substances to avoid and bad habits to let go of. The doctor can also conduct testing to determine your loved one’s risk of developing lung cancer, based on past experiences and family history.

Lung cancer is one of the most serious diseases a senior can have, and prevention is key. Even if your parent doesn’t develop this disease, he or she may need help aging in place. When searching for reliable Milford senior care agencies, families want to know their senior loved one will be well taken care of. At Home Care Assistance, our expertly trained caregivers are available around the clock to assist with tasks around the house, provide transportation to medical appointments and social events, and much more. To learn about our high-quality home care services, give us a call at (203) 444-8575 today.