Older adults

  Population considerations:

  • Misdiagnosis. Sometimes it may be hard for providers to determine if an older adult’s symptoms are a result of asthma or another respiratory disease such as bronchitis and emphysema, especially with individuals who smoke (AOA). As a result, older adults may be misdiagnosed. This is a concern because the treatment and triggers, and therefore interventions that will be helpful, may be different if the cause is asthma rather than another respiratory disease. 
  • Mental and physical limitations. Health care providers and educators should take into consideration the potential limitations that older adults may face, such as cognitive or physical limitations, which may hinder their ability to participate in an asthma management plan (AOA).

  Strategies to address these considerations:

  • Provide skills training. In order to make a proper diagnosis of asthma, health care providers should be trained to take a comprehensive individual history, including information about potential environmental and allergic triggers. Health care providers should take caution when interpreting test results. Asthma management strategies should take into consideration other possible health conditions.
  • Increase education. Interventions should focus on educating older adults and their families using tailored strategies that will facilitate them in successfully managing their asthma.
  • Implement reminder systems. Health care providers and health educators should take into considerations limits that older adults face, such as cognitive or physical limitations that may hinder their ability to participate in an asthma management plan. It may be helpful to provide caregiver training to develop treatment reminder systems (AOA).

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