Why Indoor Air Quality Matters When You're Aging in Place
by Jess Walter
People who live in major cities around the world have always been aware of outdoor air pollutants and the range of adverse health outcomes if one is regularly exposed to polluted air. However, having poor air quality inside the home can also lead to various short- and long-term health problems, which can affect one’s quality of life. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, fuel-burning appliances, tobacco products, and household cleaning products are some of the common sources of indoor air pollution, and these pollutants can be harmful to an elderly person’s health. Here’s why having clean indoor air matters, and what you can do to make your environment healthier while you're aging in place.
It can reduce your risks of developing respiratory diseases
Nothing is cozier than a wood burning fire during the winter months, but according to the World Health Organization, burning wood and coal in stoves or open hearths can produce pollutants that cause respiratory diseases, such as acute lower respiratory infections, COPD and lung cancer. To stay healthy while aging in place and to improve indoor air quality, you can swap your gas or wood stove for an induction stove, which is safer, as it doesn’t emit gas or micro particles into the air. You can also have a furnace tune-up so that your home’s heating system will continue to function properly, which is a must during winter. You may also consider installing an ethanol fireplace in your home, it’s far safer than a regular fireplace as it’s more sustainable, eco-friendly, and it doesn’t emit toxic residue, which can affect your health.
Having clean indoor air can be beneficial to your mental health
A study has found that those who are regularly exposed to particulate matter are at a greater risk of developing mental illness, as these microparticles can cause inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain, which can lead to depression. As more than 20 percent of older adults experience some type of mental health concern, it’s important to keep one’s home environment healthy in order to prevent the risks of developing mental health problems or lessen the chances of aggravating existing conditions. To clean your indoor air, place live plants, such as English ivy, spider plants, rubber plants or snake plants inside the home, as these plants have air purifying qualities. Consider using natural or organic products to clean your home or use DIY cleansers, such as a solution made with white vinegar and water, or a paste made with baking soda and water to keep surfaces clean.
It can make you feel happier and more comfortable at home
The presence of particulates in the air can cause sneezing, coughing, watery eyes and itchy skin, making home life uncomfortable for those who are aging in place. To feel happier and more comfortable at home, improve air circulation by using electric fans in high humidity and smoky areas, and open the windows and doors to let in some fresh air. You may also use a smart air purifier to further rid your home of harmful pollutants.
Keeping your indoor air clean can benefit your health in many ways as you age in place. Try these tips to improve your home’s air quality and live a better and healthier life.