Viewing 19 reply threads
  • Author
    • #31013

      After being diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), many things change for a patient. Most notably with this disease, a patient’s physical abilities become drastically different as the disease progresses. As a result, normal daily tasks such as maintaining a clean household or completing chores can feel daunting and exhausting for IPF patients. This is something I continue to struggle with, as I strive to wipe down every surface and door knob that is touched by people visiting or doing odd jobs in my home in an effort to prevent COVID-19.

      I really value a clean home, not only for my lungs and health, but for my peace of mind as well. Unfortunately, I had a tough moment yesterday when I realized how difficult it is becoming to tidy up my home, especially to complete the heavier, more physically demanding tasks like vacuuming or washing windows.

      To other IPF patients, I wanted to ask you two particular questions about maintaining household chores. I’d love to hear your thoughts!


      • If you live on your own, do you have any tips & tricks to share on keeping a clean home / completing household chores, despite your illness and possible physical restrictions?


      • Since your diagnosis, what chores are most difficult for you to complete? 


      Thank you in advance for sharing. I’m curious to hear how others’ maintain a tidy house with their disease, as I hope to continue being able to do this (mostly!) independently, but it does seem to be something that is becoming more and more difficult.

      Warm regards,

    • #31018
      Rhonda Kramer

        I so agree on the difficulty of household chores, so I’ve turned to technology to help me out. I have an iRobot vaccuum, and then this year purchased the mop. Such life savers these are. I have pets, so have to vac daily & mop weekly. These two devices have become must haves for me.

        I also try so hard not to use any sprays except some hydrogen peroxide in the bathroom. I use the Clorox or Lysol wipes for most other chores.

        And my windows look horrible. But today I don’t care!

        • #31029
          Mary E. Gemmill

            I try to do what I can – which is not much. Have just engaged a housecleaning service to come once a month to do the ‘heavy’ cleaning – bathroom, kitchen, vacuuming. I can still do my dishes, put laundry in and fold. But I do find I tend to have piles  of clean clothes on the bed instead of putting into a drawer. Am dealing not  only with IPF but also vertebral compression fractures which also limits mobility. Ah, we do what we can.

            • #31047

              Keep up that effort @maryeliz, good for you and definitely not easy! I hope cleaning service helps relieve some of the pressure of the heavy duty cleaning for you… this is something I’ve considered many times too!

              Take care,

        • #31019
          Paul B ~ Lakeland

            Allergy testing would be helpful, as it was for me. Peace of mind to know.

          • #31026
            Harletta Carathel

              One thing I was told is to walk with your vacuum instead of pushing it.  I also got a stick vacuum which was lighter than what I had.  It is a Dyson and seems to work great.

              I try to clean the area first that someone would see if they came into my house.

              I got a back door mat from Weather tech that only needs to be shaken out.  It also stops a lot more dirt than the rug I had that needed to be washed from time to time.

              I did away with a lot of decorative pillows on my bed , and it actually looks better.

              Have cleaning supplies in every bathroom so you don’t have to tote them.

              If you or anyone has more tips.  I would appreciate them.

              • #31048

                @deets, those are wonderful tips, thank you for sharing them with us! I also would love to hear from others’ the strategies they use to continue doing house cleaning for as long as possible. Keeping the supplies in each room vs. carting them around is a good idea that will help me. I’ve also heard the Dyson’s are amazing at cleaning but also nice and light. They seem pricey but I bet the quality of them is worth it. Take care, and thanks again for taking the time to share these tips with us.

            • #31027
              John Kane

                Buy the best A/C filter you can find and change it once a month.

              • #31032
                Malcolm Mann

                  I find all bending over brings on my cough, emptying the dish washer, picking up stuff etc. my house has a lot of low cupboards.

                  If I were to design a home for IPF sufferers it would have everything above waist height.



                  • #31046

                    I would do that too @mal-colm! Slowly I’ve moved the items I need most in the cupboards to the ones above the sink, easier to reach them. Hope you’re doing well 🙂

                  • #31118
                    Christine McCann

                      I agree, I have often thought about designing my own kitchen even without IPF having cupboards at a better level makes more sense to me, always has.

                    • #31345

                        I have papers on tips from my physical therapist. I was doing many of the tips as I also have back issues.I was told to place most things at shoulder level. The reaching and bending takes more energy. I also have a Roomba and a light weight Shark for quick cleaning. I don’t wash walls anymore. I use a dust mop to get the ceiling and walls dusted. Doing that job takes several days. I can’t always finish a room in one day. I use a rolling cart for my clothes hamper. I can easily roll that to the laundry room, for now. I used to use Pinesol to clean my bathroom. Now many times I will use wipes or a spray. Much faster. It’s only me. I’m trying to keep going but I’m getting more and more breathless. My lungs are at 50%. I don’t know how fast that number goes down but I hope it is slowly.

                        • #31419

                          Hi Brenda,

                          Thanks so much for sharing these tips with us – nice to know your physical therapist is on top of providing recommendations on how to make household chores easier, that’s awesome! I’m sure others will benefit from your post, as this seems to be a task a lot of people have a hard time with… thank you for taking the time to share.

                    • #31034
                      Kathleen Ryan

                        This is such a challenge for me, too.  Pushing the vacuum is impossible, and I wait for my son to help me.  I don’t want him being responsible for me like that, and it’s difficult to ask for help.

                        • #31045

                          Hi @kathleen,

                          I completely agree with you! Vaccuming has become impossible for me too, especially the stairs. This is the task I absolutely need help with and can no longer do anymore, no matter how hard I try (ie. taking breaks, sitting down to do it etc). Frustrating having to rely on others to help us, I agree.

                      • #31031

                          I leave things on the floor until I can get to them to vacuum or vacuum/sweep to get them up.  All of my visitors know it’s hard for me to bend, and no one cares.  I also have a grabber tool for bigger things.  I do have cleaners every two weeks for changing beds (just CAN’T do that), vacuuming and cleaning kitchen and baths thoroughly.  I live by myself, so it’s not a lot usually but when company/kids come, then it’s a necessity.  I can keep kitchen and bathroom sinks, counters , mirrors and windows clean.  I use “Branch Basics”……it is cleaner/detergent that all comes from the same source (different dilutions) and it totally fragrance free and chemical free, and it works and lasts forever !! .  I make the cleaning people use it also as I can’t stand the smell of cleaning supplies and they aren’t good for us ! I have two air filters.

                        • #31056
                          Christie Patient

                            It sounds like vacuuming is a common thorn in the side of PF sufferers. May I suggest this magic robot? I bought this thing for our house last year after much research into Roomba-type vacuums. I chose this one because it has the little spinning brushes to move junk toward the suction, but it does not have rotating brushes underneath. With two pets, our regular upright vacuum gets tangled with hair regularly, but this vacuum does not have that problem. It’s also much more affordable than the Roomba brand, and is operated by either a remote or an app on your phone so you can start it from your couch. It goes under the couch, tracks the edges of the house, and gets all the sand and fluff that we track in daily without me ever having to lift a finger other than to empty the catchment. Highly recommend!! I will say that I have never tried it on carpet, but it does seem to work fine over our two area rugs and is excellent on hardwood.

                          • #31125
                            Adelaide Campbell

                              I’m lucky ….. I have a cleaner, who is also a friend.  (I’m old so I can afford her.)
                              But I try to do some myself ….. changing sheets!  What a pain that is, leaving me breathless and exhausted.  Then shaking hands for a while after I recover.

                              WHEN do you turn to your oxygen?  Ok, if I use it, I feel much better.

                              BUT … if I sit for a while, I feel much better.

                              In both instances,  I can use my oximeter and watch my O2 levels return to normal.  They drop into the 70s or 80s and then come back up to the 90s with EITHER rest or with oxygen.

                              I don’t want to become dependent on oxygen.  But to be honest, a lengthy multipurpose trip to Walmart yesterday left me really exhausted.  It is getting worse.

                              How did anyone else know when it was time to use the POC?

                              Thank you, Addie

                              • #31143
                                Christie Patient

                                  My mom’s doctors advised her to go on oxygen full-time when a walk around the store left her wiped out. Every part of your body needs oxygen all the time. Your cells, your organs… everything works better with oxygen and when you are in a constant deficit, all of the systems suffer. Being fatigued is just one part of it, but chronic hypoxia can cause real damage to your body. The thing about supplemental oxygen is that there is no reason to deprive yourself of the benefits other than ego (I know, it’s easy to say that as a caregiver when I haven’t faced that reality myself). It’s safe, the side effects are minimal (dry nasal passages, perhaps), and its positive effects can be felt immediately. Even though it’s an adjustment, it’s worth it to use a POC if your doctors feel it’s time. Maybe time to check in with them about it.

                                  • #31203
                                    Harletta Carathel

                                      Adelaide, I am a vain person I guess. I have been so slow to use oxygen in public or even at home. Like you, I thought you could become oxygen dependent. Sources say you cant. But I have learned, that depriving myself of oxygen made my heart work harder and can lead to serious heart issues. I use it at home and am slowing adjusting to using it in public.
                                      Please talk to your doctors about oxygen use. The general rule is an O2 rate below 88 is time for oxygen.
                                      Please take care of yourself.

                                • #31133

                                    PF – 7 years diagnosis. At my worst, I would use my office chair and wheel my way through our one level house to vacuum. Now that we’ve downsized I’m in a 2 story town house and have a vacuum on each floor, cleaning caddy for upstairs & downstairs. As my hubby has Dementia we have a weekly cleaner in now for vacuuming and steam mopping. They, also help me with the change of sheets otherwise I get knocked out. Yesterday, I did a bit of weed pulling in our courtyard garden and came in breathless. Deep breathing ( or as deep as I can manage) helps to calm me.

                                    • #31190

                                      Great tips Fay, thanks for sharing! I’m glad you have been able to get a house cleaner to help with these tasks; very important.
                                      Take care of yourself,

                                  • #31159

                                      I’m still doing good with IPF. On O2 only at night, not on any special meds (tried OFEV and ESBRIET but they are a no-go due to side effects).

                                      That said, I have had to make some adjustments due to health. I live alone.

                                      First, I can no longer lift items over 10 lbs easily. A 10 lb bag of sugar or flour is my limit. This leaves me uncomfortable because I cannot respond to protect my grand kids from danger should something heavy fall on them. I was unable to help my elderly friend when he fell as we left a country music show four years ago. I tried real hard to help him up and couldn’t do anything meaningful. Fortunately, other people in our age group were able to help him to his feet.

                                      While I can slowly get up from a fall, it is extremely difficult if there is not a wall or furniture nearby to use my arms to steady me as my legs are somewhat weak.

                                      I use a grabber tool to get things that end up behind or under furniture.

                                      Probably the hardest thing for me to do on a regular basis is changing sheets on my bed. I am considering getting sets of sheet toppers that zipper to a mattress skirt. They are expensive ($180 for a skirt and two sheets) but probably worth it. My SS doesn’t leave much after monthly household expenses so I have been putting that off.

                                      Vacuuming is very hard so I leave that up to my older grandsons when they visit. They also mop the floors and clean the bathroom.

                                      I use furnace filters with a MERV rating of 11 which eliminates most dust and allergens down to 1 micron so that minimizes how much dusting is required. Of course me lungs also benefit from clean air. My son-in-law is put in charge of changing the filters.


                                    • #31170
                                      Mary Geissler

                                        I am glad to finally read where others are having issues with bending over! I asked my physician and the pulmonary rehab therapist why I could NOT put any pressure whatsoever on my lower abdomen – and bending over to put shoes on is impossible. They all seemed mystified why I could not, and actually felt pain/cramps. I still do not know why? Is it pressure on my abdomen? I have to say my consistent exercise program has made it some easier for me, but I went to mostly slip on Kizik tennis shoes – they’re a god-send. I have a double dish-drawer set up and do not use the bottom drawer anymore so I don’t have to bend. We have a Robo vacuum and floor washer that has been marvelous and the newer models do an excellent job.  I stopped making my bed until just recently when I find I can do that again (slower) now that I am walking 11 miles/week. Exercise has made such a huge difference in my life. But for anything strenuous, I have portable oxygen and then when I am working out I plug into a large oxygen unit. I do not cough except early in the morning to clear throat or sometimes late at night for some reason. I used to mix a ‘cocktail’ of cough medicines each night – now I seem to be able to not need them at all or very rarely. But if I could just bend over with no issues at all, I could do so much more. It’s very limiting to not be quite what I wish I was…but thankful for what I can do.


                                        • #31189

                                          Thanks for sharing your experiences, Mary! It sounds like more of us are struggling with simple tasks like household chores and cleaning than I thought. It sounds like you have a good system in place that works for you, great work; it’s not easy to still do these tasks with this cruel disease.
                                          Take care,

                                      • #31224
                                        Patti Vitez

                                          I bought a Robot  that  does a great job on the kitchen and carpet. I also between time use the vacum very slowly but use it . I also have a cleaning lady 2 times a month to do the deep cleaning . And the hardest thing it seem like for me to do is dress the bed what took me 10 to 15 min to do now takes 1/2 hour to  45 min. I had to come to terms that I can not to what I use to, and to ask for help. There is help out there ask for it . Some insurance may even pick up some cost.

                                        • #31229
                                          David Thompson

                                            I’m just back for my pulmonologist. He’s ordering several tests including inflammatory markers. I too am having problems doing housekeeping such as taking clothes out of the dryer emptying the dishwasher. Just walking is fairly easy as long as I take my oxygen with me. It’s the everyday chores that are difficult. I now walk with a walker with the oxygen generator. Inside. Is less stress on my neck. That seems to be helpful.

                                            • #31248

                                              Hi David,
                                              Thanks for writing and I hope the inflammatory marker testing reveals some information that might help you! These household tasks likely seem so easy to people who aren’t living with IPF, but they become very challenging for those of us who are. Glad the walker to carry your 02 is alleviating some of the pressure on your neck. Hang in there and thanks for writing.

                                          • #31236
                                            Karen Martin

                                              I feel very fortunate that I am still able to do my own vacuuming.  My daughter and son-in-law bought me a Dyson cordless.  When you are dragging around tubing, you really don’t need to also have to deal with a cord!  I only have a room-size rug in the living room, which helps.  I use a grabber tool for many things.  I also have an extending magnetic tool that I use to pick up stray straight pins and needles when I have dropped them.  I use a telescoping Swiffer to dust.  Makes it so that I can reach the low as well as the high areas without bending.  I have a long-handled shoehorn to help with my shoes. Bending over is a big issue, so I try to squat as much as possible. Changing sheets is really a bear as Ron pointed out.  Ages ago when they taught home ec in school, I learned to do one side of the bed at a time and so I use the technique when I change them, but I will say that usually constitutes my day’s exercise when I do!  🙂  This is one time when living alone is a mixed blessing.  I don’t have to take care of someone else, but there is no one around regularly to help out.  So it goes.

                                              • #31246

                                                Hi Karen,

                                                Thanks for sharing your tips and experiences re: navigating housecleaning while living with IPF. Until you’re having to do it, this is a simple task that most people really wouldn’t think of; I’m glad you’ve found some solutions that seem to be working for you!
                                                Take care,

                                            • #31289
                                              Denise Stogdill

                                                Hi everyone, I thought I was the only one having trouble doing household chores!  I too have problems bending over to pick things up or to get things from a low drawer.  I use O2 when walking.  It helps very much.  I have someone who comes in to clean twice a month.  We are very blessed to be able to do this otherwise my house would be terribly dirty.  I can’t clean the shower or the tub anymore.  I can’t use the cleaners because they bother me.  It’s hard for me to load the dryer since I have to bend to do it.  I realize now how much I took for granted all of the things I use to be able to do.  Now everything is a big production and most of the time, for this very reason, I don’t want to do anything.

                                              • #31292
                                                Jerry Genesio

                                                  Charlene, You’ve opened a topic that I’m finding difficult to deal with right now. My wife and I are both 83 and have shared household duties. However, the past few months have taken a toll on my physical strength and I see her gradually doing more as I do less, and I think that’s harder on me psychologically than it is on her physically. I am incredibly grateful for her presence in my life. because of the pandemic, I know she will resist when I say it’s time to bring someone in once a week to help, but the risk of Covid is not what it was even a few months ago, and as long as we all wear N-95 masks, and I maintain a safe distance, we should be alright.

                                                  • #31317

                                                    Hi Jerry,

                                                    Thanks for writing – it’s lovely to hear from you! Sorry to hear you also are having a hard time with household duties; I suspected many of us with this dreaded disease might be struggling with this. It sure is hard psychologically, I agree! Bringing someone in would help but I also understand the pandemic-related anxiety around this. I think if you ensure they are vaccinated, masks are worn and distance is maintained it should be okay but I certainly understand the hesitancy, I feel the same way having just gone through COVID again.
                                                    Take care,

                                                • #31342
                                                  Steve Dragoo


                                                    Hi Charlene,

                                                    I thought a while about your important questions before I answer and don’t have many new thoughts to add to all of the great comments except a couple of things.

                                                    While back in the USA in 2018/19, I tried putting off doing dishes but that meant I had to stand longer when I did do them which would give me a still neck and upper back. So I decided to only use a pan and a plate which I could rinse off and easily do. Regarding cleaning/laundry – I stretched out doing any and closed off areas I did not access frequently, always sat while folding clothes, and went for the permanent press so ironing was minimal.

                                                    I miss walking long distances and now that I am back in the Philippines, I miss helping in the garden and other basic chores I could do. Once in a while, I still can but not often completely.

                                                    Not trying to be morbid but with the many add-on ailments I don’t really expect to make it to the end of the year, however, two (actually three) things sustain me. My spiritual walk is at the top of the list. I have studied studied studied and know what is true and isn’t most of the time in life and that creates a sense of humbleness others around me like and compensates for the times when I am a grouchy old man.

                                                    I just met my tiny 6-month old granddaughter and looking at her reminds me of our life cycle but what a beautiful thing when young meets old. This encourages me to do the other two things. First, I continue reviewing and trying different supplements that help me a lot and keep my mental acuity flowing. Secondly, I talk about IPF and my other ailments that are gathering steam to help prepare my family in openness for the coming trials we all face later in stage 4 – that also encourages me to cherish every moment I can and focus on what life is really about – discovering what love/wisdom is really meant to be for us on earth. – A moment-by-moment process for sure but worth every effort to achieve.

                                                    We are not an accident and we are meant to demonstrate our value. We have to learn what our value is. You have done that many many times in the effort you have always shown helping/commenting to others on our forums and there is more to your story.

                                                    Your friend.

                                                    • #31423

                                                      Hi Steve,

                                                      So nice to hear from you and as always, thank you for your insightful and thoughtful post. Getting household chores done with IPF seems to be a daunting task for many, and I’m grateful for all the tips, tricks and suggestions listed here.

                                                      Sorry to hear you’re struggling with the additional ailments but the things you outlined sustain you seem so meaningful! Keep up all your great research; I know you’re dedicated to that and are so insightful. Continue to keep up your positive, spiritual attitude, it inspires more people than you know!
                                                      Take care and sending my love,

                                                  • #31360
                                                    Karen Rachal

                                                      I turned over the vacuuming to my husband when I kept getting tangled in my tubing. I finally remembered the backpack I got for my OxygoNext. I had to sideline it when I broke 5 ribs. I drug it out today and managed to vacuum 3 rooms. So nice not to get tangled in the tubing.

                                                  Viewing 19 reply threads
                                                  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

                                                  ©[current-year] KLEO Template a premium and multipurpose theme from Seventh Queen