6 Common Infections Found in the Elderly

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A number of infections are common in the senior population. As the immune systems of older adults are often compromised, illnesses in seniors have the potential to become more severe. As such, family members should ensure their elderly loved ones take the appropriate preventive measures to reduce the risk of various infections. 

1. Influenza

When older adults get the flu, they often end up in the hospital with more severe respiratory symptoms. To boost their immune systems and reduce their risk of catching the flu, seniors need to get annual flu vaccinations when they become available. Family members who might be ill should also refrain from visiting older loved ones. If seniors live with family members who might become ill, all members of the household should practice thorough handwashing techniques and hygiene habits to keep their loved ones healthy. 

If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of home care. 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.

2. Pneumonia

Seniors with compromised immune systems may develop pneumonia after contracting colds or the flu. Older adults can reduce the risk of severe respiratory illness by getting pneumonia vaccinations. Family members and friends exhibiting cold or flu symptoms should avoid contact with their aging loved ones. During flu season, seniors might consider limiting their exposure by not going out in public if possible. 

3. Urinary Tract Infections

Some older adults don’t have the muscular strength or the patience to completely empty their bladders, while others may not drink enough fluids throughout the day to warrant the emptying. When urine stays in the bladder’s warm, moist environment, a senior runs the risk of developing an infection. Older adults must make a conscious effort to eliminate all urine and make sure they’re drinking plenty of fluids daily. 

4. Yeast Infections

Yeast is part of the body’s normal flora. However, after seniors take antibiotics, yeast cells then proliferate and can cause distress. Seniors who regularly use nebulizer treatments are also at high risk for developing oral yeast infections. If an antibiotic is prescribed, an older adult might request an additional prescription for a medication to normalize systemic yeast. Eating yogurt daily upon completing treatment is another option. Older adults using respiratory treatments need to thoroughly rinse their mouths immediately afterward.

There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional senior care. Anchorage families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place.

5. Gastrointestinal Infections

Different types of bacteria and viruses disrupt the gastrointestinal tract, causing abdominal discomfort and diarrhea. Some ailments might also cause nausea and vomiting. Over-the-counter antidiarrheal medications are an option. Diarrhea and vomiting put seniors at risk for dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. As such, older adults must ensure they constantly sip clear fluids if possible. All family members and other caregivers should additionally use good handwashing and hygiene techniques. 

6. Shingles

This viral infection erupts secondary to the varicella zoster microbe that lingers from a previous chicken pox infection. The malady causes blister-like lesions that follow a nerve pathway. The itching and pain seniors experience due to shingles often require a prescription for an antiviral oral medication and a topical solution.

Seniors living with serious health conditions often need extensive assistance in and outside the home, and for some families, caring for a senior loved one can be overwhelming at times. Luckily, they can rely on professional respite care. Anchorage, AK, Home Care Assistance is a trusted name in respite and hourly care. Our caregivers are available around the clock to assist seniors with bathing, transportation, medication reminders, exercise, and much more, allowing families the time they need to focus on other important responsibilities or just take a break. If your loved one needs professional care, Home Care Assistance is here to help. To hire a compassionate, dedicated caregiver, call us at (907) 770-0907 today.


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