As a family caregiver, you are responsible for making sure your elderly relative is comfortable, nourished, and well cared for. Whether you do these tasks yourself or hire a home care agency to help, you probably have a checklist of what to do and when to do them. However, one often overlooked task is one of the most serious and that is checking for mold in the home.
September is Mold Awareness Month and it’s the ideal time to learn about and take action against mold in the home.
How Does Mold Affect Seniors?
Mold Awareness Month aims to educate people about what mold is and how it can affect people, especially the elderly. A mold is a fungus that thrives in dark and moist places. Different kinds of mold can affect people, from their spores to the toxins they release into the air. There are certain areas in the home that are ideal growing conditions for mold, such as poorly ventilated basements, near leaking pipes and in the walls and attics of structures in humid climates.
Seniors usually have a weakened immune system and have a hard time fighting off the effects of mold exposure. Prolonged exposure to mold can make seniors very ill and often family caregivers and home care assistants mistake mold exposure symptoms for a cold or allergy. Symptoms can range from nose and throat issues and headaches to skin rashes, asthma, and other respiratory issues. In extreme cases, mold exposure can cause serious health problems in the elderly.
Detecting and Preventing Mold in the Home
Mold Awareness Month has excellent resources when it comes to detecting mold. Family caregivers should take the time to inspect the home from top to bottom, looking for sources of moisture as well as developed mold. Any patches of greenish, blackish or brownish mold on walls, under sinks or elsewhere within the structure should be treated by a professional.
Preventing mold is not too difficult.
If there are any leaking pipes discovered, family caregivers need to get them fixed. Running the bathroom fan for at least 20 minutes after a shower or bath can help dry out that small space. They can also leave the bathroom cabinet doors open occasionally to allow circulation. Basements may need to have the windows left open on a regular basis to bring in more air and dry out any damp spots. In extremely humid parts of the country, family caregivers may want to consider a dehumidifier and fans if they’ve experienced repeated mold issues.
Mold Awareness Month is a chance to learn more about the real dangers associated with mold growth and mold exposure to everyone, but especially to seniors. Because of their weakened immune system, elderly people are particularly susceptible to the harmful health effects of mold.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home health care in Modesto, CA, or the surrounding areas please contact the caring staff at ApexCare®. Proudly Serving Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, Solano, San Joaquin & Stanislaus counties.
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