As people grow older, their bodies become less capable of fighting off environmental hazards that can cause them to become sick or can aggravate existing illnesses. According to airnow.gov, “Air pollution can aggravate heart disease and stroke, lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma, and diabetes. This leads to increased medication use, more visits to health care providers, admissions to emergency rooms and hospitals, and even death.”
Where is air pollution a problem, and are seniors at risk?
Some places have worse air quality than others, and air pollution can be a daily concern. Cities and towns with better overall air quality can still have days or weeks of problematic pollution levels due to fires, dust storms or – at certain times of the year – pollen or allergens. You can check the air quality where you live by entering your ZIP code on this website.
According to a study by the American Lung Association, four out of 10 Americans live in a place with higher than acceptable levels of air pollution. The study also found that 20.1 million adults aged 65 and over live in areas with a severe problem with at least one dangerous pollutant.
Seniors are at a high risk of harm because of poor air quality, especially if they have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, asthma or cardiovascular disease. And if your loved one was once a smoker, their risk of getting sick from air pollution is higher than those who have never smoked. To make matters worse, some studies have shown that air pollution can even hasten the onset and increase the severity of dementia.
If COVID-19 taught us anything, it’s the value of a filter to keep us from inhaling dangerous particles and germs through our mouths and nose. While an air purifier doesn’t do the same thing as an N-95 mask, it can help clean the air in your home of dust, mold spores, allergens and other irritants that may not bother younger family members very much but can be aggravating and irritating to older adults in the home.
What kind of air purifier is best for seniors?
Choosing an air purifier for your older adult, especially if they live alone, should start with ease of use. A remote control or app-based system to turn it on and off is a helpful tool, especially for those with mobility issues or arthritis.
Other things to look for in an air purifier include:
HEPA filtration: A high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter is a pleated filter that removes up to 99% of airborne particulates and bacteria. Any good air purifier must have a HEPA filter to make the environment cleaner for your senior.
Area coverage: The air purifier you choose should cover as much square footage as possible to make it work well for your senior and your family.
Portability: You may prefer to move your senior’s air filter from room to room. If so, it should be easy to pick up and relocate when needed.
Air purifiers for your older adult’s home
All of these air purifiers are equipped with HEPA filters:
This air purifier covers 361 square feet. While the Coway Airmega doesn’t have a remote control, it does have a built-in timer for auto on and off.
This model can be controlled by a smartphone app or through an Alexa or Google assistant, making it easy for anyone to manage. In addition, it covers an extensive area of 720 square feet.
This multi-function machine includes a heater, a fan and an air purifier. Its sleek design and remote control operation make it a welcome addition to any room.
This compact but powerful machine is perfect for a bedside nightstand or a sofa side table.