- Aging & Longevity
Helping the elderly acclimate to the use of oxygen
Oxygen therapy at home can be daunting to the elderly
My and my elderly mother's world changed last year when her doctor put her on oxygen therapy at home. I will admit that I was more upset about this development than Mom was. Mom's attitude was "whatever" while mine was....well, never mind, I can't say what I actually said or the Hubpage censor will nail me. Suffice it to say that I was upset. Yeah, that's the ticket...
Anyway, the doctor sent us home with a prescription for home oxygen. My house was filled with large metal canisters (not unlike the kind they freeze people in...), canulas, portable tanks, etc. Now that the stuff was in the house, Mom's attitude changed to be more in line with me. The reality of being tethered to oxygen had sunk in. So, I had to put on my bid girl panties and prepare Mom for the use of oxygen at home. Along the way, I figured out a few tips that I'll share here with you. Read on, faithful reader.
Tip #1 to acclimating the elderly to the use of oxygen...
DON'T PANIC! Easier typed than done but the use of oxygen at home really isn't all that horrible and, if it means that your favorite senior citizen remains pink, well, it's worth it.
Of course, you will panic but you'll get over it pretty quickly. The second half of the 1st tip to acclimating the elderly to the use of home oxygen is to hide the tanks. Get it out of sight if you can. The oxygen tanks cannot be placed in closets so that's out but do try to put them in the corner of another room - you can always attach a long hose to the tank. Even placing an oxygen tank behind a tall sofa or chair will make it less obvious and worrisome to your elderly loved one.
If you can't find a decent place to put the ugly tank, cover it with a large cloth so that it is at least as hidden as it can be. Out of sight might not be exactly out of mind but it's better than staring at a large green or silver cylinder of O2.
blue nail polish
Tip #2 to acclimating the elderly to oxygen
Put blue nail polish on the right side of the nasal cannnula. Oxygen nasal canulas should be put on so that the nose prongs go down, following the passages in the nose. If the nasal cannula is put on upside down, it can be quite uncomfortable for your favorite senior citizen.
To aid the caregivers and my Mom in making sure that the nasal cannula is placed correctly in Mom's nose, I paint a bit of blue nail polish on the right hand side. From my vantage point on the sofa, I can easily see the streak on the side of the nasal cannula and am ensured that the oxygen is in the right position.
Note: Do not use red nail polish! I scared myself to death one day after I used red nail polish - Blood! WHAT????????
Oxygen supplies on Amazon.com
Tip #3 to helping the elderly acclimate to the use of oxygen
Put the hose going from the oxygen tank to the nasal cannula is a safe spot. I have the oxygen tank by the back door but my Mom sits in the living room about 30 feet away so I have a long hose that connects the O2 tank to her nasal cannula. I have the hose secured over doors and down by the floor so that it's out of the way. A long tube is always a tripping hazard so make sure it's out of the way.