Where Better Care is a Family Matter

How to Avoid COPD

If you have COPD and go untreated, you are at a much higher risk to develop conditions like heart disease or lung cancer. That’s why it’s so important to learn how to avoid COPD.

What is COPD and What Causes it?

COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a common, chronic inflammatory disease of the lungs. It is often categorized in one of two main forms: chronic bronchitis or emphysema.

Chronic Bronchitis COPD

Chronic Bronchitis occurs when your bronchial tubes become inflamed and begin producing a lot of mucus, leading to long-term coughing with mucus and difficulty breathing.


Emphysema occurs when the lungs have become damaged over time. The damage causes the air sacs of the lungs to enlarge and stretch, and the individual suffers from breathlessness.

COPD is caused by consistent exposure to irritants in the air. Several symptoms of COPD are:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Ongoing coughs that produce mucus
  • Wheezing

Avoid COPD by Knowing the Triggers

While triggers for COPD can be widely varied, there are three that are the most common.

Avoid COPD by Maintaining Your Physical Health

Like with most illnesses, physical health plays a large and vital role in how likely you are to suffer from an illness as well as how quickly you can recover. If you’ve ever had a cough last much longer than your cold, you can understand how easily it can be to fall victim to breathing difficulties due to sickness.

When it comes to avoiding COPD, it’s important to take extra precautions with your health. Try to avoid the common cold or flu as much as possible. You can do this by taking extra vitamin C during peak seasons, maintaining a healthy diet, and keeping up to date on the latest vaccinations – especially your annual flu shot.

If you do succumb to a cold or flu, it’s especially important to allow your body adequate time to recover. Don’t push yourself back into your normal routine too quickly. Get the rest you need so as to not exacerbate the symptoms and create problems with COPD down the road.

Avoid COPD by Being Cognizant of the Weather

While you can’t control the weather, you can be more intentional about how you participate outside in the elements. While you might only thing that cold weather can produce complications from COPD, extreme heat can also be a culprit.

Be mindful throughout the year when you head outdoors. Make sure to bundle up and limit your time outside in the cold. On the same hand, minimize your time under direct sunlight and ensure you stay hydrated.

Pollution in the air has been found to be a large trigger for COPD. This can be attributed to outdoor pollution as well as dust, mold, and fumes indoors. If you want to avoid COPD, it’s important to pay attention to the air around you. Limit your time outdoors when pollution levels are high. Keep your home clean and maintained. While pollution isn’t altogether avoidable, the better your can protect yourself against it, the better your odds are of avoiding COPD.

Avoid COPD by Quitting Smoking or Staying Away from Second-Hand Smoke

Cigarette smoke is the leading cause of COPD. Up to 75% of people who have COPD either smoke or used to smoke. If you are a smoker, quit smoking now. It is the MOST important step you can take to avoid COPD.

Second-hand smoke is just as lethal of a risk factor for COPD as first-hand smoke. Even if you aren’t a smoker yourself, it’s essential to stay away from exposure to second-hand smoke. This includes smoke from cigars and pipe tobacco as well.

Think You Might Have COPD? Get Treated Now.

While COPD is a serious disease of the lungs, it can be highly manageable when properly treated. If you or someone you love is experiencing signs or symptoms of COPD, visit with a doctor right away.

For more information about pulmonary health and respiratory care, check out this blog from Elmhurst Extended Care Center’s Respiratory Therapist.

Elmhurst Extended Care Center Voted One of the BEST Companies to Work For

zippia best companies in elmhurst award

Elmhurst Extended Care Center is proud to announce that we have been honored by Zippia as one of the BEST companies to work for in 2019.

Zippia is a career expert site, and every year, they publish a ranking of the best places to work in Elmhurst. This year, Elmhurst Extended Care Center made the list for 2019!

You can find out more about this award here.

Looking for a job in Elmhurst? Come work for one of the best!

If you’ve been searching for a place to call home, fill out an application to come work at Elmhurst Extended Care Center today. We are an equal opportunity employer, and we take great pride in providing a wonderful place and positive environment for all our staff members.

December 2019 Newsletter

December at Elmhurst Extended Care Center is full of festive holiday joy! Come by to enjoy our caroling throughout the month. Don’t miss our Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest on the 18th or our Christmas party on the 20th. There’s so much happening this month, so make sure to check out our latest newsletter below to get all the details!

6 Holiday Activities You Can Enjoy Indoors with Your Senior Loved One

The holiday activities you do with your senior loved one this season don’t have to be exciting to be special and meaningful. It’s all about spending time together, feeling included, and enjoying good company. Simply allowing them to join in brings joy and helps your loved one enjoy the season. Try out these fun and easy indoor holiday activities this season with them:

Holiday Activities You Can Enjoy Indoors with Your Senior Loved One

1. Put on their favorite tunes

Whether you use new technology or old, it doesn’t matter. Gather with your loved one this holiday season and enjoy listening to some of their favorite hits together.

2. Prepare and cook favorite holiday dishes

If your senior used to enjoy putting together and hosting family get togethers, it may be difficult for them now to know they aren’t able to do it on their own anymore. Bring them back in the kitchen and enjoy the preparation and cooking of the meal together this holiday season.

Here are 10 super easy holiday dishes you can make (and they’re healthy, too).

3. Ask for their help picking out presents

Your senior loved one may be surprised at just how easy it is to shop from the comfort of your home these days. If they’re unable to join you on a shopping excursion, bring the shopping to them by asking them to help you pick out gifts online.

4. Make a holiday wreath

Seniors love activities as they keep the brain stimulated and help to keep them feeling capable. Purchase all the supplies for wreath making, and then plan a fun indoor activity where you can each make a wreath of your own. If your senior is in a long-term nursing facility, help them display their wreath so they can enjoy it all season long!

Here are some great holiday wreath ideas to get you started.

5. Host a holiday movie night extravaganza

Bring out the comfy blankets, pop all the popcorn, and cozy up together around the TV as a family with your senior loved one this holiday season for a holiday movie night extravaganza. You could even find out what their favorite holiday movie is and make it your feature movie of the night!

6. Throw a cookie decorating party with your senior loved one

Get all the kids involved along with your senior and throw a cookie decorating party this holiday season. Put out bowls full of sprinkles, icing, and decorations, and let them go wild!

This recipe for the perfect sugar cookies will provide a great base for your decorations.

No matter how you plan on spending the holidays this year, make sure to include your senior loved one anywhere you can.

If you’re looking for the best nursing home in Elmhurst, look no further than Elmhurst Extended Care Center. Our facility offers both short and long-term care as well as a Certified Memory Care Unit for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Schedule your tour today or attend one of our family support groups for more information.

November 2019 Newsletter

November brings us a lot to celebrate at Elmhurst Extended Care Center! Make plans to join us for our Veteran’s Day service on Monday, November 11th at 2:30pm. Show your loved one how thankful you are for them this month by stopping by and enjoying some of the daily activities with them. You can even make plans to make their Thanksgiving this year extra special by visiting and sharing a meal. Find out everything going on this month in our latest newsletter:

Our Pulmonary Center of Excellence Has Launched! Interview with Respiratory Therapist at EECC, Tim Olsen

October is Pulmonary month, and at Elmhurst Extended Care Center, we are celebrating by launching our Pulmonary Center of Excellence in partnership with Integrated Respiratory Solutions and ALC Home Health. In honor of the center’s launch, we sat down with our in-house Respiratory Therapist, Tim Olsen, to learn more about how pulmonary and respiratory illnesses affect older adults.

What is the most common respiratory problem you see among older adults?

The most common respiratory problem I see among older adults is shortness of breath due to one factor or a combination. I frequently work with patients that have shortness of breath with walking or exercise. The feeling of breathlessness is sometimes due to lack of exercise, being deconditioned, a lung problem like pneumonia, or a heart problem.

What types of therapeutic solutions do you offer for residents suffering from pulmonary or respiratory issues?

Depending on the illness, I help them breathe better with breathing exercises and instructing in use of prescribed inhalers. About 60% of clients that use inhalers don’t use them correctly, so getting the maximum benefit from the inhaler is important. Most clients are fine when resting. When they walk – working with our physical therapists to improve strength and endurance – or climbing stairs, they get short of breath. Helping them normalize breathing when they get short of breath helps them do the activity and not feel as short of breath.

Do you have any tips for preventing pulmonary disease?

First, don’t smoke. If you do smoke, quit now.

Second, choose your parents wisely. Just kidding. But it’s important to know that some breathing problems are genetic, placing residents at higher risk for breathing problems.

Third, get the flu shot and wash your hands several times per day. (Of course the usual times, before eating, after the bathroom, and after using your phone or keyboard.)

Lastly, don’t smoke. Tobacco companies have had hundreds of years to perfect an addictive drug delivery system.

What are 3 signs and symptoms someone should look out for that signals the onset of a pulmonary or respiratory infection?

Children get a fever with an infection. As we age, we may not have a fever with an infection. Frequently, the first sign of a respiratory infection is fatigue, increased cough, or a productive cough (a cough with colored phlegm).

What do you enjoy most about being a part of the Elmhurst Extended Care Center family as the resident Respiratory Therapist?

Engaging with the residents about their goals to return home is what I enjoy most. Frequently, after short term rehabilitation, they return home stronger and with better endurance than before the event. Working with the knowledgeable patient care staff and enjoying the sense of community between the residents and staff comes in at a close second.

Looking for the Best Pulmonary and Respiratory Therapy in Elmhurst? Look no further.

Schedule a tour of our skilled nursing facility today or request a call back by one of our friendly staff members.

October 2019 Newsletter

Don’t miss our Halloween Costume Content this month! We’ll be enjoying this fun contest with our residents at Elmhurst Extended Care Center at 3pm on October 31st. You can also join us for our Sing-A-Long featuring John Boda on October 16th. For a look at our full calendar of events for the month of October, check out our latest newsletter:

When It’s Time to Consider Long-Term Care for Your Parent

senior assisted living

Making the decision to consider long-term care for your parent can be a difficult one to make. However, if you’ve been the primary or only caregiver for your loved one, it’s important to recognize when they might be better served by a skilled nursing facility equipped to handle all their needs.

Overcoming Feelings of Guilt and Nursing Home Stigma

When you are looking after the care, health, and wellbeing of a parent, it can feel incredibly overwhelming to come to the realization that you are no longer in a position to continue doing so. Oftentimes, caregiving children are overcome with feelings of guilt and letting their parents down. This results in a continuation of care that could bring about other health concerns for your loved one. It can also create resentment towards your parent later in life due to the taxing burden that caregiving can become.

It’s important and necessary to set your personal feelings aside and look at the care of your parent from a perspective entirely focused on what would be best for them.

In addition, nursing homes haven’t always had warm and fuzzy feelings associated with them. However, by touring different locations, you can quickly get a good feel for how that stigma is just that, and you’ll find that many skilled nursing facilities have really become quite the oasis for residents seeking both long and short-term care.

A tip for finding the perfect long-term care facility for your parent: Take advantage of Respite Care stays. This will allow your loved one to get acquainted with the facility and the staff members to help them discover if long-term care at the facility would be enjoyable.

Signs It’s Time to Consider Long-Term Care for Your Parent

If you’ve been feeling like it might be time to consider long-term care for your parent, there are a few questions you can ask yourself to assist with the decision-making process.

Are you finding it increasingly difficult to handle the physical care your parent needs?

This might sound like a simple question, but it’s important. If physically helping your loved one is difficult for you, you’re only putting them more at risk. Skilled nursing facilities have trained professionals on-site that are easily able to handle the physical demands of caregiving. To avoid risking a fall or injury to your loved one, take a serious look at what physical demands you are capable of meeting in a way that won’t put your health at risk.

Are you finding yourself suffering from chronic exhaustion or feeling emotionally drained?

The answer to this question has a great impact on your overall health, both mentally and physically. And if you’ve been struggling with exhaustion or mental fatigue, that can be negatively affecting your parent as you care for them, including bringing on feelings of parental guilt, and the inability to provide the quality of care they need.

Does your parent need rehabilitation or specialized supervision?

If your loved one requires rehabilitation, oftentimes it can require around-the-clock care, and you may not realistically be able to provide it. If they aren’t receiving the amount of care they need to fully recover, it can hinder their ability to heal as well as create a much longer timeline for rehab. On the same token, if your loved one suffers from Alzheimer’s or dementia, they could greatly benefit from a long-term care facility that offers a certified Memory Care Unit.

Elmhurst Extended Care Center Offers Long-Term Care in a Home-Like Environment

If you are considering long-term care for your parent or loved one, stop by Elmhurst Extended Care Center. We offer long-term skilled nursing care in a home-like environment where our residents thrive. Schedule your tour today or attend one of our family support groups for more information.

September 2019 Newsletter

September is going to be an exciting month at Elmhurst Extended Care Center! Come check out our Car Show on the 14th presented by the Cadillac/LaSalle Car club. Make sure to put Grandparent’s Day on your calendar and stop by to visit with your loved one. For more on what’s happening this month at EECC, check out our latest newsletter:

4 Exercises to Do After Knee Replacement Surgery

senior men playing chess outside

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, more than 600,000 knee replacements are performed each year in the United States. When you’ve gone through knee replacement surgery, it’s natural to want to get back up and moving as quickly as possible. But in order to do so, regular exercise is a must. It will help restore your strength and mobility and make use of your new knee that much easier and more enjoyable. Here are some exercises you can incorporate into your daily routine to help extend mobility, flexibility and strength:

1. Sitting Knee Extension

Sit up straight in a chair. It’s important that your chair be firmly set on the ground – no wheels or uneven flooring underneath. Bend your knees over the edge of your chair, resting your feet on the floor. Lift the leg of your new knee up until your knee is straight (do not lean back to do so). Hold your elevated leg in this position for 5 seconds, and then slowly return your knee to a bent position, foot on the floor. Repeat this exercise 10 times, 2-3 times a day.

2. Standing Knee Flexion

Using a walker or back of a heavy chair for support, stand upright facing your support piece. Slowly bend the leg you had knee replacement surgery on so that your foot comes up behind you. Bend your knee as far as you can, and then gently bring it back down for your foot to rest on the ground. Repeat this exercise 10 times, 2-3 times a day. This exercise is also easy to do while standing at the kitchen sink! Simply use your kitchen counter for support.

3. Heel Slides

Lying down flat on your back, gently bend your new knee. Slide that foot up towards your buttocks as far as you can go. Make sure to keep your other leg flat on the bed. Hold your bent knee position for 5 seconds, then gently straighten your leg back out and relax for 15 seconds. Repeat this exercise 10 times, 2-3 times per day. Make sure to take your socks off as they can make this exercise difficult and slippery. If you notice your unoperated knee trying to bend and slide up, place a pillow under that knee and focus on pushing your unoperated knee down into it as you slide your new knee.

4. Straight Leg Raise

Lie flat on your back. Bend your unoperated knee and place that foot flat on the bed, knee bent. With your knee replacement surgery leg, tighten your quad (the muscle at the front of your thighs), and raise your operated leg straight up. Make sure to keep your raised leg straight. Do not bend the new knee. Hold this raised position for 5 seconds before lowering it slowly back down. Relax for 15 seconds and then repeat 10 times, 2-3 times per day.

If you’re in need of physical therapy following your knee replacement surgery, give us a call at Elmhurst Extended Care Center. Our skilled therapists work with post-surgical patients for short-term rehabilitation that will progress you to your highest level of function. Find out how we can make your recovery process enjoyable and productive when you call us at 630-516-5000.