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Reducing a Senior’s Risk of Pneumonia

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Seniors between the ages of 65 and 79 are most susceptible to contracting pneumonia, a lung infection that can cause high fevers, chest pain, and breathing difficulties. Since this infection can lead to further complications and is especially dangerous for the elderly, taking measures to reduce your loved one’s risk is important. Placer County at-home care experts suggest a few ways to help you accomplish this.

Make Sure Vaccinations Are Up to Date

Pneumonia is caused by a variety of organisms that enter the lungs. Vaccines can help prevent infection from some of the viruses and bacteria known to cause the illness. These protective vaccines include:

  • Hib
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Pneumococcal
  • Measles
  • Pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Varicella (chickenpox)

While vaccines can’t prevent all cases of pneumonia, studies have shown seniors who are vaccinated tend to have milder cases that don’t last as long and have fewer complications from the illness.

Wash Your Hands

Keeping your hands clean while visiting and caring for your loved one can reduce his or her risk of developing pneumonia. Washing your hands and keeping surfaces clean with antibacterial wipes helps prevent the spread of infection. Simple signs around the house can remind visitors to wash their hands after using the restroom and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing their noses, which can greatly reduce the number of germs your loved one is exposed to daily.

Help Your Loved One Quit Smoking

Smoking can impair your loved one’s lungs and leave them susceptible to infection. If your loved one currently smokes, encourage him or her to quit or reduce the number of cigarettes smoked daily. Visitors should never smoke in your loved one’s home or living space and should make sure outside smoking is done far away from the home to prevent it from blowing indoors.

Manage Your Loved One’s Diabetes

If your loved one has diabetes, he or she is more susceptible to infections such as pneumonia. The immune system depends on its cells, which travel through the lymphatic system to fight off viruses and bacteria. High blood sugar levels weaken these cells, preventing them from doing their job. Encourage your loved one to manage his or her blood sugar levels through eating a healthy diet, getting exercise, and taking medication or insulin regularly.

Though keeping your loved one safe and healthy throughout flu season is important, the same level of care throughout the rest of the year should also be a priority. If you want to ensure your loved one receives high-quality care, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are all trained in our proprietary Balanced Care Method, an evidence-based program that encourages healthy lifestyle choices for the elderly. We also offer Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and stroke care in Placer County for seniors who need more comprehensive care. For more information on how in-home care can help promote your loved one’s health, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at 916.226.3737 to schedule a free in-home consultation