Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that can affect anyone of any age. However, those 65 and older have a higher risk of complications from pneumonia. With so many other risk factors affecting seniors, keeping track of it all can be hard. Having elder care in the home can help loved ones monitor seniors’ health and well-being to catch symptoms as quickly as possible. For everyone involved, it is important to be aware of the following information regarding pneumonia.
Why Does Pneumonia Risk Increase in Seniors
As people get older, their immune systems weaken, making them more susceptible to illnesses such as pneumonia. Alterations in the respiratory system that occur naturally with advancing age, such as a diminished cough reflex and poorer lung function, can contribute to an increased risk of infection.
When caring for seniors, paying attention to their symptoms is essential. Common symptoms include coughing, fever, shortness of breath, chest pain, weariness, disorientation, and exacerbation of pre-existing chronic diseases. Chronic medical issues may also worsen with pneumonia. On the other hand, seniors might not necessarily appear with the usual symptoms. Instead, they might experience subtle signals such as disorientation or a deterioration in their functioning abilities. Unfortunately, these more subtle signs often get missed or misdiagnosed as something else.
Increased Complications Cause Concern
Seniors have a significantly increased risk of developing severe complications as a result of their pneumonia. Pleural effusion, the collection of fluid around the lungs, and respiratory failure are just two possible complications. In addition, seniors frequently have pre-existing health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or chronic lung disease that can raise the risk of acquiring pneumonia and make it more difficult to cure.
Vaccines are important in the overall strategy to protect seniors from developing pneumonia. It is suggested they get both the pneumococcal and the influenza vaccine to protect themselves against bacterial and viral strains that might cause pneumonia. It’s important for loved ones and elder care professionals to encourage seniors to talk with their medical team if they have concerns or questions.
Seniors over the age of 65 who have symptoms that could indicate pneumonia should seek medical help as soon as possible. The development of a more serious condition could result if there’s a delay.
Antibiotics are the standard pneumonia treatment, as they effectively combat the underlying infection that causes the disease. In extreme cases, hospitalization may be necessary to provide close monitoring, intravenous antibiotics, oxygen therapy, and other forms of supportive care. Important aspects of treatment include providing sufficient time for relaxation and drinking as well as managing any associated discomfort.
Vaccination is not the only method that can help reduce the risk of pneumonia in seniors. Other preventative measures can also be helpful, including living a healthy lifestyle, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly. They should also avoid close contact with people who have respiratory infections.
Loved ones and the elder care team should do everything they can to monitor seniors for symptoms of pneumonia or any other health concerns and encourage them to talk with their doctor as soon as possible. With quick treatment and care, they can recover quickly.
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