As people age, they often spend more time indoors and are challenged by weakened immune systems and vital organ function. Aging adults are more vulnerable to health complications.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air is two to 10 times more polluted than the air outside. It is imperative that long-term care facilities measure internal air quality to ensure residents’ health and wellness.
Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) is caused by air pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are chemicals that emit from common products and materials. Mattresses, furniture, cabinetry, ceiling tiles, wallcoverings, cleaning products, deodorizers, and nearly all furnishings and maintenance products release VOCs into the air.
The risk of health complications resulting from poor IAQ is even greater among older adults than among young or middle-aged adults. Even worse, indoor air pollution is known to cause or aggravate myriad health problems, including asthma, upper respiratory complications, eye irritation, cognitive impairment, nausea, nosebleeds, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and even cancer. For residents of continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs), assisted living facilities, and nursing homes, indoor air pollution is especially concerning.
There are many simple things you can do to improve the air quality indoors: open windows and let the fresh air in, use mild cleaners and fragrance free products, declare your environment smoke free, vacuum regularly and use HEPA filters, leave shoes at the door. For additional steps to improve indoor air quality, visit the following online sources: