One of the best ways your elderly loved one can help prevent illness is to get vaccinated, but he or she may not know which vaccines may be the most important. Here is a list of vaccines that can help seniors prevent various health complications, brought to you by the staff at Anchorage Home Care Assistance.
The immune system weakens with age, which makes seniors more susceptible to contracting seasonal influenza. Over 90 percent of deaths from the flu happen to those over 65 years of age, which makes getting a seasonal flu vaccine a good idea. Seniors have the option of getting the regular flu vaccine or a higher-dose shot resulting in a stronger immune response.
Shingles, otherwise known as herpes zoster, are a painful skin rash that occurs on one side of the face or body. Because the risk of getting shingles increases with age, the vaccine is recommended for those 50 and older and only needs to be given once.
Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (Tdap) Vaccine
This combination vaccine prevents several diseases that can be extremely harmful to seniors and the family members who visit them. Tetanus disease is also known as lockjaw, a severe tightening of the muscles all over the body caused by bacteria entering a wound. Diphtheria can hinder breathing and swallowing due to a bacterial infection that causes the inflammation of mucous. Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, causes violent and rapid coughing that can last for months. Seniors who are around grandchildren and great-grandchildren can also help protect them from this serious illness, as pertussis is especially harmful to young children. The booster should be received every ten years.
Pneumococcal conjugate and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccines are recommended for seniors, as both offer protection from different strains of pneumococcal bacteria, which can result in meningitis, bacteremia, and pneumonia. All three diseases are extremely harmful to the elderly, and seniors can especially be susceptible to pneumonia, which causes 50,000 deaths each year in the United States. The vaccines should be received six months apart from one another.
Because preventing serious illnesses becomes more crucial with age, you may want to suggest your loved one get some or all of these vaccinations in the near future. Much like some seniors may also have challenges with remembering when to take their medication or keep doctor’s appointments, they can also forget when to get vaccinated. If your loved one could use a helping hand, you may want to consider part-time hourly care in Anchorage. Our caregivers can provide medication or appointment reminders and help with transportation. To learn more, call (907) 770-0907 and speak with one of our qualified Care Managers.