The Best Indoor Plants To Help Seniors Breath Easier This Summer

The recipe for a long, healthy life includes two essential ingredients -- fresh air and sunshine. Filling your home with greenery brightens things up. More importantly, it filters the air for better breathing. Indoor houseplants help seniors breathe easier in summer and all year long.

Louisiana’s mild winters and hot, humid summers may take a toll on seniors (and everyone else who spends much of the day indoors.). Poor indoor air quality, resulting from cleaning chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), affects all age groups. For older folks, foul air may lead to serious health setbacks.

While plants are known for emitting oxygen, some types are even better at filtering air and are especially helpful for people living with COPD.

Here are some of the best indoor plants for seniors (and everyone else).

Aloe Vera


An aloe vera plant is hard to miss. This succulent plant removes formaldehyde and benzene from the air. It absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen. Another plus? When you break a frond, aloe gel is medicinal for treating burns. Aloes are very prolific; the main plant will produce offshoots. Replanting the “babies” is a great activity for your older loved one to do with their caregiver. Place aloes in front of sunny windows.

Aloe Vera


With large glossy leaves, rubber plants remove formaldehyde, mold spores, and bacteria from the air. These hardy plants may grow up to 10-feet tall indoors, but they can be pruned to smaller sizes. “Decora” is a popular rubber tree cultivar with dark green leaves and white ribs. “Rubra” has pinkish foliage that deepens to red (with green edges) as it matures. Rubber plants thrive in indirect light and work well in vertical gardens.

Snake Plants


Much like aloes, snake plants (also called mother-in-law’s tongue) emit oxygen while removing carbon dioxide from the air at night. Thick pointed frond-like foliage removes smog, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde from the air. Snake plants are sturdy, don’t need a lot of light or water, and are good in bedrooms for a good night’s sleep.

Weeping Fig


Weeping figs are tropical ficus plants and are great at removing unwanted indoor chemicals like xylene, formaldehyde, and toluene from the air. Indoor fig trees are best planted in large pots because they can grow rather tall. Weeping figs prefer filtered sunlight and need regular watering.

Peace Lily


Lush peace lilies eliminate indoor air chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde, ammonia, acetone, and xylene. With bright, glossy leaves and soft white spikes embedded in the stems, peace lily flowers and foliage make beautiful indoor showpieces.

One thing to note: Peace lilies are toxic to pets and small children who like to chew on leaves. Parts of the plant contain calcium oxalate, which can lead to stomach and breathing difficulties if ingested. (Similar plants containing calcium oxalate are daffodils, hyacinths, true lilies, and philodendrons).

Gerbera Daisies


Daisies color up the home prettily while removing formaldehyde and benzene from the air. But daisies need a lot of light -- so plant them in an outdoor container and bring them inside at bedtime.

More Breathe-Easy Plants

These plant varieties also clear the air of household chemicals like formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, benzene, carbon monoxide, and xylene.

  • Red-edged dracaena. With more than 40 types, you’ll find the right “lady in red” shrub for your home. Note: Dracaenas are NOT pet-friendly.
  • Spider plant. Pretty green fronds with tiny white flowers. Won’t droop if you forget to water it.
  • English ivy. Needs low light and consistent watering.
  • Golden pothos. Cascading vines in a hanging basket grow best in filtered sunlight.

Houseplants are nature’s cleaning service for the air we breathe, and in Louisiana’s humid air, we need all the help we can get to breathe easier this summer.

CARE isn’t just the name of our company; it’s what we do for you and your family. CARE gives your loved ones the help they need, like running errands, getting to doctor appointments, and doing all the little things that need tending. Call us at 1-800-798-6565, or contact us online to learn how CARE can help you and the special people in your life.

Lee Park is a botanist who researches indoor plants, eco-friendly disease and pest control. While he enjoys studying the effects of bugs in his gardens, he wastes no time getting rid of rodents.

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