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10 Ways to Help Someone with COPD

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Watching a family member suffer with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is not an easy thing to do. However, seniors living with COPD can greatly benefit from having a caregiver who is knowledgeable about the disease and how to treat it.

5 Star Home Care’s owner, Kenny Higdon, believes that, “Getting patients with COPD back to a functional quality of life is absolutely doable. Part of that is staying in the mind-set that caregivers can help."

5 Star provides home care assistance to Tennesseans living with a disability or recovering from an injury, illness or age-related need. This includes seniors who struggle to breathe because of COPD, a condition of emphysema and chronic bronchitis usually caused by smoking or other long-term exposure to lung irritants such as air pollution, chemical fumes or dust. The progressive disease is the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Severe COPD may prevent someone from doing basic activities like walking, cooking or taking care of oneself.

To have a better understanding of how a caregiver can improve the life of a loved one living with COPD, here are 10 ways that 5 Star Home Care caregivers help their patients’ feel better and slow the progress of the disease:

It can be difficult enough for anyone to stay on track in everyday life, but basic tasks are especially challenging for a loved one lost in the haze of dementia. Kenny Higdon, Owner of 5 Star Home Care, said there are some strategies for restoring familiarity and establishing a routine. The company provides assistance to those living with a disability or recovering from an injury, illness or age-related need. 

“Our company provides high quality, personal assistance so people can maintain the independence that comes from living at home,” Higdon said. He shares some of the strategies and tools that help his clients manage daily life:

Part of what makes Alzheimer’s disease so difficult to cope with is the disheartening belief a loved one has vanished. It can be as difficult for us to recognize what remains of them as it is for them to recognize us. Kenny Higdon, owner of 5 Star Home Care, suggested art therapy as one method of engaging them. His company employs caregivers who help seniors and those living with a disability or recovering from an injury or illness to perform day-to-day activities. 

It can be tricky assessing whether our aging parents truly need help or if observed behavioral changes are simply part of a temporary circumstance. Delicate care should be taken to objectively analyze a situation before saying something that may cause a loved one to react defensively. 

Kenny Higdon of 5 Star Home Care said grown children can look for red flags when visiting with their parents. These include obvious weight loss or gain, prescriptions barely touched, damage to the car, increased frailty, strange body odor, unopened mail, letters from creditors, piles of clutter, cobwebs, perishables past their expiration dates, or signs of being preoccupied while driving. Dead or dying plants and animals that seem underfed or poorly groomed are also indicators that an aging loved one is not managing very well. 

Do you have an older parent? Are you worried about them falling? Leslie Kernisan, MD, shares approaches that geriatricians use to assess fall risks in seniors and how to prevent falls.

Fall Risks and Seniors

Seniors and families are often quite worried about falls, and with good reason. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 1-in-3 seniors fall at least once every year. In 2013, falls led to 2.5 million emergency room visits and over 700,000 hospitalizations.

Even when a fall doesn’t cause a serious injury, it’s often scary for seniors and their families. Plus, a fall is an important red flag: one of the strongest risk factors for future falls is having had a previous fall.

For these reasons, it is recommended that seniors be screened for high fall risk, and offered help preventing falls. But unfortunately, many primary care DOCTORS  are too rushed for time. Plus, most aren’t particularly trained to adapt healthcare to the needs of aging adults.

Our ability to walk is vital to our sense of self-reliance, but age inevitably affects our mobility and makes most activities of daily living more challenging to perform. Unable to get around as well as they did for most of their lives, seniors can start to feel isolated and depressed, but the good news is that they do have options to restore quality of life. 

Kenny Higdon, Owner of 5 Star Home Care, said that with a helping hand, a senior can continue normal daily routines to some extent.  His company offers professional, comprehensive home care to people who need help performing such day-to-day activities as bathing, dressing, doing laundry, light housekeeping, meal preparation, and transportation. 5 Star helps seniors with mobility issues, as well as those of all ages who are living with a disability or recovering from an injury or illness. 

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Alzheimer's/Dementia: Is It Time to Find Help?

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Witnessing a loved one suffer with Alzheimer's disease or any other type of dementia is one of the toughest things we ever have to endure. It's like watching a loved one's personality slowly being erased.

To help seniors maintain their independence and stay in their homes for as long as possible, 5 Star Home Care offers constant companion care/sitting services and are available 24/7.

"This helps because if a parent with Alzheimer's is left at home, they will sometimes 'take the car out for a drive' and end up hundreds of miles away, lost and with no idea where they are. This actually happened to someone I spoke with last year," said 5 Star Home Care owner Kenny Higdon.

The signs usually come on gradually, like a sort of creeping dread that suggests harder times lie ahead.

  • Your mother becomes withdrawn from family.
  • Your father finds familiar tasks more and more difficult.
  • You notice scratches on your aunt's car from accidents.
  • Your grandfather's home becomes filled with clutter and stacks of unfolded laundry.


Our seniors and those with disabilities deserve to live in dignity, but unfortunately a variety of scams exists to harm the most vulnerable among us.

Kenny Higdon, owner of 5 Star Home Care, said his company tries to educate clients about these scams, cited by the National Council on Aging, and how to avoid becoming victims.

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5 Star Offers The Very Best In Home Care

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Times Free Press - March 28, 2013


A home is where lives are built, memories are made, and it’s the one place that offers a significant level of comfort unlike any place else in a person’s life. This truth forms the foundation of 5 Star Home Care. The state-licensed home care provider offers non-medical personal care, assistance and companionship for clients to help them maintain their independence and be able to stay in their homes. Services offered include everything from meal preparation and errand running to laundry and personal care.