Is the Air in Your Retirement Home Making You Sick?
By Dennis Bulcao
5 min read
You’ve worked your entire life for a safe, happy retirement, so the last thing you want to hear is that the air in your retirement home could be making you sick.
Air quality is essential when it comes to your health and wellness. Allergens and contaminants in the air, such as dust, viruses, and mold, can significantly affect senior health, particularly the lungs. The atmosphere in retirement homes often contains such contaminants, and seniors might be unaware of why they are getting sick.
The best way to prevent these health issues caused by poor air quality is to purchase a top-of-the-line air purifier.
Causes of Indoor Air Pollution
Before you purchase an air purifier, you should understand the many things that can get into the air and make you sick, particularly in a retirement community.
There can be many causes of indoor air pollution in a senior living facility. There are odors, allergens, and many chemicals used to clean the facility. Many people live in the facility and use common areas such as the dining room, exercise room, and large rooms used for group activities and get-togethers. Retirement homes tend to have different visitors coming and going, making it easy for germs to spread.
Senior citizens are at an increased risk from viruses and bacteria, which are particulates that an air purifier can clean.
There have been numerous studies done on the effects of air pollution on senior citizens, whether they live in a senior citizen assisted living facility or if they are still living on their own. So while these studies are general, it is safe to assume that some of those same pollutants exist in a senior living facility.
Long-term exposure to dirty air contributes to some serious health issues. Polluted air can lead to heart disease by accelerating atherosclerosis, a significant cause of heart attack and stroke. The most vulnerable people to these effects are older adults and those with hypertension. Of equal concern is that exposure to airborne pollutants is associated with an increased risk of dementia. Dirty air is also harmful to bone health and can cause osteoporosis and bone fractures.
Besides serious health issues, dirty air also contributes to allergies and colds, affecting all aspects of a senior citizen’s daily life.
Allergies and colds have different triggers, so knowing the causes and symptoms can help you pick out the right air purifier to remove allergens and germs. Air Purifiers reduce harmful airborne germs that include cold and flu viruses and particles that trigger allergies like dust, pollen, mold spores, pet dander, and smoke particles.
Understand How Air Purifiers Lead to Clean, Healthy Air
Senior living facility residents spend most of their time in a smaller space than the average home, so shopping for an air purifier for this purpose is critical. Consider a top-of-the-line model to protect against all allergens, viruses, bacteria, and even odors. The money you spend on a highly rated unit will bring peace of mind to yourself and your loved ones.
It would help if you considered purchasing an air purifier as a long-term investment, much as you would a major appliance. The air purifier’s capacity and quality are the significant factors to consider.
You should pick an air purifier with the proper capacity for the size of the room. You will use it in. Some nursing home units are a single room, while others are similar to a one or two-bedroom apartment with multiple rooms, so you might be looking for something different from what you would have in a single-family home.
The best bet is to shop for an air purifier specific to a bedroom, notably, if the accommodation in a senior citizen assisted living facility is just one room. Even if it is a multiple-room layout, it is essential to have clean air in the bedroom since getting the proper amount of restful sleep is one of the biggest keys to senior health. You could need an air purifier with a larger coverage area if the room is congested and contains a large number of allergens.
It would help if you considered what impurities would need to be filtered out. The primary pollutants in a nursing home bedroom would be allergens such as dust mites, hair, and odors. If the retirement home allows residents to have pets, then pet dander could be another concern because it is a leading cause of allergies.
Air Purifier Specifics
You should make sure the air purifier has a HEPA filtration system. Do not settle for a system that is labeled “HEPA-like.” HEPA filters contain highly absorbent material that captures air particles as small as 0.3 microns in diameter, giving them a high-efficiency level. For the best health results, the air purifier you select should both filter and sanitize the air.
Look for a model with automatic sensors that can adjust the fan’s speed based on the air quality and provides alerts for when it’s time to change the filter. Since sleep is essential to senior health, look for an air purifier that quietly moves air through the room and has a display panel that is soothing to the eyes.
Find out how often you need to replace the filter and factor that cost into the overall cost of the air purifier. Changing the filters as recommended is key to getting the maximum performance while maintaining excellent health in a senior citizen assisted living facility.
Air purifiers come in many different models and sizes, with differing features. Some focus on quiet operation and soothing displays, while others have sophisticated filtering systems to ensure that the air a senior citizen breathes is as pure as possible. They also vary in cost. If budget is a consideration, compare several models, and you should be able to find an air purifier that fits your needs.