Seniors are more susceptible to pneumonia than any other group due to age-related changes in lung capacity, the presence of predisposing conditions, and an increased exposure to diseases. These 5 tips, provided by the Tucson, AZ, elderly care experts at Home Care Assistance, can help your senior loved one remain healthy and prevent this serious illness.
1. Watch for the Symptoms of Pneumonia
Diagnosing pneumonia can be challenging because most seniors do not display any of the symptoms associated with the illness. However, it is necessary to know the signs of pneumonia so your loved one can get immediate treatment and prevent the illness from progressing. If your loved one has preexisting conditions, pay extra close attention to changes in his or her health.
A few non-respiratory symptoms to watch for include:
2. Maintain Good Health
Living healthily can keep your loved one’s immune system strong and able to fight off pneumonia. Encourage your loved one to follow a nutritious diet appropriate for a senior. He or she will also need to exercise during the day and get plenty of rest at night. Good overall health is critical for fighting off pneumonia.
3. Get Immunized
Your loved one should get vaccinated against bacterial pneumococcal pneumonia to decrease the risk of developing the illness. This is a one-time vaccine that prevents pneumonia or reduces the severity of the illness. However, check with a doctor to see if your loved one should get a booster vaccine in the future. Seniors also need to receive vaccinations for influenza and other illnesses that lead to pneumonia.
4. Promote Good Hygiene
Practicing good hygiene could reduce your loved one’s chances of catching the flu or influenza or developing a respiratory infection, three conditions that could lead to pneumonia. Your loved one will need to wash his or her hands thoroughly throughout the day, especially in public places. It is a good idea to avoid other people who are ill, regardless if they only have a common cold or a more serious disease like chickenpox or the measles.
5. Stop Smoking
Smoking is a bad habit that puts seniors at a higher risk of pneumonia. The ability of your loved one’s lungs to fight against the infection will decrease due to smoking. At-risk seniors who quit smoking reduce their odds of developing pneumonia.
Because it can be challenging for some seniors to manage their health, Home Care Assistance created a program called the Balanced Care Method (BCM), which encourages aging adults to exercise on a regular basis, eat nutritious foods, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. In addition to BCM, we also offer specialized Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia home care Tucson families trust. To learn more about BCM and our other senior care services, call (520) 276-6555 today.