Senior Health and Wellbeing | July 20, 2016
Pneumonia is a major cause of mortality among seniors 65 and older. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more people die each year from pneumonia than from car accidents.
Every year 200,000 to 300,000 Canadians develop pneumonia, with some group mortality rates being as high as 30%. Seniors and the elderly have one of the highest mortality rates for various reasons which are addressed later in this article. One thing that remains true is that you can protect your elderly loved one from developing, and possibly dying form this disease.
Pneumonia is an infection that affects one or both lungs. The disease can range from mild to severe, and can be fatal. It is typically caused when bacteria, fungi, or viruses enter the lungs and cause inflammation within air sacs in the lungs called alveoli. This inflammation may cause the alveoli to fill with fluid, resulting in difficulty breathing and fever. Common causes of pneumonia include the bacteria Streptococcus pneumonia, and viruses such as the flu.
Chest X-rays and a blood test are how doctors can determine if a senior has pneumonia. If it is bacterial pneumonia, it is usually treated with antibiotics. If the infection is viral, an anti-viral medicine may be prescribed. Patients may begin to feel better before finishing their medicine, but should continue taking it as prescribed. If they stop too soon, the pneumonia may return. Doctors may give the patient fluids if he or she is dehydrated, oxygen if there is a breathing problem, along with pain relief and medical support. Milder cases of pneumonia can be cared for at home, but with severe cases ─ or if there are other underlying health conditions ─ hospitalization may be required,
Flu predisposes older people to pneumonia, so the number of cases tends to spike during flu season, but the illness can occur at any time of the year.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that anyone who has prolonged contact with seniors should also get vaccinated. Children in the senior’s family should get vaccinated, and caregivers should be vaccinated, too, to avoid getting sick themselves and passing the illness to clients and older members of their own families.
Comfort Keepers® can help. Our caregivers can assist seniors ─ even those who may be recovering after a serious illness at home, or hospitalization. Caregivers can help seniors around the house, and support wellness through proper diet, and by making sure that clients take medications, and get enough sleep and exercise. Call your local office today!
Comfort Keepers®’ trained caregivers help provide senior clients with the highest quality of life possible to keep them happy and healthy at home. Our Interactive Caregiving™ provides a system of care that addresses safety, nutrition, mind, body, and activities of daily living (ADLs) no matter what the weather.
For additional information on Comfort Keepers of Canada® at Toronto or any other Comfort Keepers of Canada® location please visit our home page or call us at 416-663-2930.