Aug 11, 2017 by Lisa Carson RN, BSN
Now that August is finally here and it’s National Immunization Awareness Month, seniors should make getting their immunizations a top priority. Vaccinations are the best way to prevent serious health problems like the flu. By getting the right vaccinations, our caregivers say that older adults can significantly reduce their risk of developing serious diseases and live healthier, happier lives as a result. Let’s take a closer look at the types of immunizations that are a must for all senior adults.
Chickenpox & Shingles
There is a certain vaccine that can actually protect seniors from chickenpox and shingles, a painful rash that often arises in individuals who are age 50 or older. Shingles is quickly becoming a disease that affects many seniors. Even if they recover from it Shingles can cause a lot of lingering pain for seniors. If an older adult has never been vaccinated for chicken pox, now is the perfect time for them to do so.. It’s important to note that even though chickenpox and shingles arise from the same bacteria, two separate vaccines are necessary to protect against both diseases. Even if your loved one has been vaccinated before if it’s been five years or more since they were vaccinated they need to be vaccinated again.
Diphtheria & Tetanus
In order to protect themselves from Diphtheria, Tetanus , and Pertussis, senior citizens should get the TDAP vaccine. Doctors and other caregivers recommend that older adults get this vaccination every 10 years to ensure that they do not develop any of these diseases. The TDAP vaccine can also protect them against Pertussis or the whooping cough which can be hazardous to a senior’s young grandchildren.
Unfortunately, the flu is not uncommon among the older population. It can bring senior citizens a great deal of discomfort, a slow recovery period, and in some serious cases, death. This holds true because aging leads to a weaker immune system that makes it difficult to fight of illnesses like the flu. The good news is that a yearly flu shot can help older adults avoid this disease.
Pneumonia is an infection that causes the air sacs in the lungs to fill up with fluid or pus and make it difficult for an individual to breathe in enough oxygen to reach their bloodstream. Sadly, pneumonia is the cause of many senior deaths.
If a senior citizen had a pneumonia shot as a child, they are likely still eligible for another one. It should be noted that while the pneumonia vaccine may protect seniors from pneumonia, preventing this condition by quitting smoking and practicing healthy lifestyle habits is essential.
Since every older adult has a different medical background, seniors should take the time to sit down with their doctor and determine which other vaccinations make sense for them. A doctor may recommend a vaccine for Mumps, Measles, Meningitis, and Hepatitis A and B.
Getting vaccinations is a simple and effective way to prevent serious illnesses. Seniors should make sure that they get updated flu vaccines and other vaccinations so that they aren’t at risk for illnesses that could have serious and long lasting effects on their health. Most of the time vaccinations are fully covered by insurance, including Medicare. So seniors shouldn’t have to pay much, if anything, to get these life saving vaccinations.
If you have a senior loved one in Lubbock, TX or in the surrounding areas that could use some extra help with things like getting to the doctor’s office, cleaning up around the house, or other tasks a caregiver can help. An in home caregiver helps seniors stay independent and stay in their own homes. If your loved one needs some extra help talk to one of our care specialists today about creating a customized care plan with a caregiver for your loved one.