There’s really no avoiding mold.
Mold spores are everywhere—in the air and on the surfaces your senior parent comes in contact with. You might see little black dots of mold on your parent’s shower curtain, spots on the drywall in the basement, or an orange film of mold around the sink drain.
Mold is not only unpleasant to look at, but it could have adverse effects on your parent’s health, too. Knowing more about mold and how to prevent it from growing can help family caregivers to keep their aging parents healthier.
Mold is a Fungus
Mold is a kind of fungus that has been on the Earth for millions of years. There are many varieties of mold and they may appear in different colors, including black, white, orange, purple, purple, or green. Like most funguses, mold thrives in moist areas, both indoors and outside. Outside, mold has an important function as part of nature’s cycle. It helps dead plants, trees, and leaves to be broken down. However, when those mold spores get inside your home and grow in moist places, they can be a problem, particularly to people who are sensitive to mold.
How Mold Affects Health
How exposure to mold affects health depends on the person. Some people aren’t affected at all. Other people might have only minor problems, like a stuffy nose or scratchy throat. In some cases, mold can also cause wheezing, coughing, itchy eyes, and a skin rash.
Some people might also have shortness of breath or experience asthma attacks. People who are allergic to mold can have severe allergic reactions to mold spores. For people with lung conditions, mold exposure can be even more serious, causing lung infections.
People who may be most affected by mold include:
- Older adults
- People who have weakened immune systems due to conditions like cancer, HIV, or liver disease
- Those with chronic lung diseases
Dealing with Mold in the Home
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends taking the following steps to prevent mold from growing inside the home:
Keep the house from becoming too humid.
You may be able to accomplish this by using dehumidifiers and air conditioners.
-Fix leaks quickly.
If the roof, pipes, or windows begin to leak, take care of the problem promptly to avoid water damage and mold growth.
-Clean up after flooding.
If your parent’s house should be flooded, thoroughly clean and dry the area. You may wish to consider hiring a professional company to help.
-Keep the bathroom and kitchen ventilated.
Prevent moisture build up in the bathroom and kitchen by opening windows and using fans.
Family caregivers can assist seniors with keeping their homes as mold free as possible. Keep an eye on dehumidifiers and empty them when needed. Also, if you notice a leak in your parent’s home, take care of it or hire someone to help. Not only will it protect your parent from mold, it will cost less to make the repair early before additional damage occurs. Family caregivers can also help seniors to clean up any areas where mold may be growing.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering home care services in Birmingham, AL, please contact the caring staff at Senior Legacy Care today. Call us at (205) 380-7418.
Susan Smith, Owner