Why Are Seniors More Vulnerable to Illness?

By Mark Schmidt, 9:00 am on March 25, 2019

Elderly people often get sick more easily than younger people, which may be related to preexisting medical conditions, side effects from medications, the natural aging process, or other causes. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help your senior loved one stay healthy for as long as possible. Here are some reasons elderly people get sick easily.

Vitamin C Deficiency

As people age, their appetites often decrease, and nutritional deficiencies are more likely to develop. When aging adults fail to get enough vitamin C in the diet, immune function may be negatively impacted, which may predispose them to infections and raise the risk for chronic illnesses. Make sure your loved one consumes vitamin C–rich foods such as citrus fruits and green vegetables. If your loved one is unable to tolerate these foods, talk to his or her physician about recommending a vitamin C supplement.

Vitamin D Deficiency

When seniors are housebound and unable to go outside to enjoy the sunlight, they may develop vitamin D deficiencies. Exposure to sunlight helps the body manufacture vitamin D, and when confined to the indoors, your loved one may be unable to meet the recommended daily allowance for this essential hormone. To reduce the risk of a vitamin D deficiency, incorporate foods such as fish and dairy products into your loved one’s meal plans. The physician can order a serum vitamin D test to determine if your loved one is deficient and, if so, may prescribe vitamin D supplements until the deficiency has been corrected.

If your loved one has health conditions that make it difficult to prepare nutritious meals, a professional caregiver can be a fantastic asset. Some seniors only require help with a few daily tasks so they can maintain their independence. However, those living with serious illnesses may need more extensive assistance. Luckily, there is professional live-in care Tucson seniors can rely on. Home can be a safer and more comfortable place for your loved one to live with the help of an expertly trained and dedicated live-in caregiver.

Medication Side Effects

If your loved one takes steroid medications to treat conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or an inflammatory skin problem, or if he or she takes drugs to prevent the body from rejecting a transplanted organ, immune suppression may develop. Immune suppression raises the risk for illness, especially in elderly people. Older adults who take medications that lower immune function need to wash their hands frequently and maintain proper nutrition so they can reduce their risk for infections. Even a minor cold can develop into a serious systemic infection known as sepsis in an elderly person who has lowered immunity.

If your loved one needs help remembering to take medications correctly, a professional caregiver can be an outstanding source of support. In Tucson, home care service agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.

Cognitive Deficits

If your loved one has cognitive deficits, he or she may get sick easily. People with diminished cognitive function may forget to eat nutritious meals, fail to take their prescribed medications, neglect hygiene routines such as bathing and brushing their teeth, and stop drinking water. If your loved one has cognitive deficits or seems forgetful, make sure to provide help with activities of daily living to ensure his or her needs are met so the risk for illness is reduced. Also, if your loved one is no longer able to live independently, consider hiring a live-in caregiver to monitor him or her around the clock.

The natural effects of aging make seniors more vulnerable to illness, even if they lead healthy lifestyles. If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of in-home care. Tucson Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services. For more information about our flexible, customizable home care plans, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (520) 276-6555.