In their senior years, many of the older adults need to deal with age-related issues, such as a weakened immune system. Due to it, seniors become more prone to various infections, such as pneumonia. It affects one or both lungs and it can vary from mild to severe. It occurs when bacteria, fungi or viruses enter the lungs and it can even be fatal.
Changes to the lungs as we age. Older adults are not always able to clear secretions from their lungs. Those secretions then go down into bronchial tubes and lead to an infection.
Weakened immune systems. Seniors have a weaker immune system which means they are not able to fight off infection as well as they used to. Their immune system is an even worse shape if they’ve gone through chemotherapy, had an organ transplant, or have taken certain medications for a long period of time.
Senior health conditions. Seniors who struggle with diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, HIV, cystic fibrosis, asthma, and COPD are more likely to get infected.
If a senior has been infected, they will experience fever, chills, shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing, fatigue, or their cold will suddenly get worse.
To determine whether a senior has pneumonia, a health provider will do a blood test and an X-ray. If a patient is diagnosed with pneumonia, they will receive medication, as well as fluids, oxygen, and pain killers.
Luckily there are some ways seniors can lower their chances of being infected. Older adults should consult with their physicians to determine the best solution. Some of the ways pneumonia can be prevented are:
Get vaccinated. Older adults in their senior years should get an annual flu shot, as well as a pneumococcal vaccine that will protect them against pneumonia bacteria.
Take steps to quit smoking. Smoking can damage the lungs, and when the lungs’ defense systems are compromised they can easily get infected.
Practice a healthy lifestyle. With some lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise and a well-balanced diet, seniors can boost their health and reduce the risk of pneumonia.
Whether your loved one is recovering from pneumonia or is looking for ways to protect themselves, Comfort Keepers can help. Our skilled caregivers can remind your parents to take their medications on time, provide transportation to doctor’s appointments, prepare nutritious meals and encourage your loved one to exercise. With our help, your parents will be able to age safely at home, regardless of age or acuity.
If you wish to learn more about the home care services we offer in Edmonton, AB, contact us today.
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