The Best Indoor Plants To Help Seniors Breathe Easier This Summer

Aug 16, 2019


As we age, our respiratory system becomes more vulnerable to various environmental factors, including indoor air pollution. Seniors spend a significant amount of time indoors, making it crucial to create a healthy living environment for them. One effective way to improve air quality and promote better breathing is by incorporating indoor plants into their surroundings. In this article, Grim Harley, MD, shares expert insights and recommends the best indoor plants to help seniors breathe easier this summer.

The Benefits of Indoor Plants for Seniors

Indoor plants offer numerous benefits beyond their aesthetic appeal. Research has shown that certain plants have the remarkable ability to filter harmful toxins from the air, increase oxygen levels, and release moisture, creating a more breathable and comfortable indoor environment. For seniors, improving air quality is crucial, as it can help alleviate respiratory issues, reduce allergies, and promote overall well-being.

The Top Indoor Plants for Seniors

1. Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis)

Aloe Vera is not only known for its skin-healing properties but also for its air-purifying abilities. This succulent plant is an excellent choice for seniors, as it releases oxygen at night, promoting better sleep quality. Additionally, it helps to filter out common indoor pollutants such as formaldehyde and benzene, making it an ideal plant for improving indoor air quality.

2. Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

The Snake Plant, also known as Mother-in-Law's Tongue, is a low-maintenance plant that thrives in various indoor conditions. It is proficient at absorbing toxins like formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene from the air. With its ability to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen at night, the Snake Plant acts as a natural air purifier, ensuring a cleaner and fresher environment for seniors.

3. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

Spider plants are popular indoor choices due to their adaptability and easy care requirements. These resilient plants help to combat indoor air pollution by efficiently removing formaldehyde, xylene, and carbon monoxide from the surroundings. Spider plants also possess air-humidifying properties that can be beneficial, especially during dry summer months or in air-conditioned spaces.

4. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii)

The elegant Peace Lily not only adds beauty to any space but also helps to improve air quality by removing harmful airborne toxins. It effectively filters chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and ammonia, making it a fantastic choice for seniors with respiratory sensitivities. However, it's important to note that the Peace Lily is toxic to pets, so it should be placed in areas inaccessible to furry companions.

5. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)

Boston Ferns are known for their lush foliage and ability to thrive in high humidity environments. These ferns excel at removing formaldehyde and xylene from the air while also adding moisture to the surroundings, which can be particularly beneficial during the drier summer months. Seniors can enjoy the visual appeal of this plant while reaping its positive impact on air quality.

Tips for Caring for Indoor Plants

To ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your indoor plants, follow these care tips:

  • Place plants in well-lit areas, away from direct sunlight to avoid scorching the leaves.
  • Water plants as per their specific requirements, avoiding overwatering or underwatering.
  • Monitor room temperature and humidity levels to create an optimal environment.
  • Dust the leaves regularly to prevent dust buildup and ensure maximum air filtration.
  • Use organic or natural fertilizers to nourish the plants without introducing harmful chemicals.
  • Rotate plants occasionally to promote even growth and prevent leaning towards the light source.


Grim Harley, MD, recommends incorporating indoor plants to improve air quality and promote better breathing for seniors during the summer months. The suggested plants, including Aloe Vera, Snake Plant, Spider Plant, Peace Lily, and Boston Fern, all offer unique benefits such as air purification, moisture release, and toxin removal. By taking care of these plants and creating a green sanctuary indoors, seniors can enjoy a healthier, more comfortable living environment that positively impacts their overall well-being.