Reducing an Older Adult’s Risk of Developing Pneumonia

By 9  am On


It’s important for families to protect their elderly loved ones against pneumonia. Luckily, there are a few simple ways to reduce your loved one’s risk of developing this severe illness.


Make Sure Your Loved One Is Immunized

Seniors over the age of 65 are more susceptible to developing pneumonia. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and Mayo Clinic recommend seniors get vaccinated against bacterial pneumococcal pneumonia, which can prevent or reduce the severity of pneumonia symptoms. Though normally only given once, your loved one’s doctor may recommend a booster for this vaccine in five years. You should also encourage your loved one to get vaccinated for influenza, which can quickly turn into secondary pneumonia.

Preventing illnesses such as the flu and pneumonia is important because they can lead to more significant health issues. Living with serious health conditions can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Reston seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.


Encourage Proper Hand Hygiene

Colds, flu, and other respiratory infections that can lead to pneumonia are common in the winter months. These infections are easily passed from person to person by coughing, sneezing, and touching contaminated objects. Encourage your loved one to wash his or her hands or use sanitizer frequently, especially after visiting crowded places. You should also advise your loved one to avoid contact with anyone who is ill.

Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional homecare services. Assisting Hands Home Care is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.


Allow Natural Coughing when Minor Illnesses Are Present

A cough can have healthy results when your loved one has a minor respiratory infection. Coughing breaks up mucus and other secretions that can build up in the lungs and lead to bacterial infection, including pneumonia. If your loved one has difficulty sleeping because of a cough, you can try giving him or her a dose of over-the-counter cough suppressant at bedtime.


Help Your Loved One Stop Smoking

Studies show people who smoke a pack a day are three times more likely to develop pneumonia than nonsmokers. Smoking causes oxidative stress and changes how inflammatory cells respond to infections in the lungs. Quitting smoking can significantly reduce your loved one’s chances of developing pneumonia as well as a host of other health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.


Watch for Symptoms

The typical symptoms of pneumonia include coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, chills, fever, and fatigue. Elderly people, especially those with dementia, may also exhibit vague symptoms such as delirium, increased confusion, and dizziness. If your loved one has any of these symptoms, you should take him or her to see a doctor as soon as possible.

Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of senior home care. Reston families can rely on Assisting Hands Home Care to provide individualized care plans to meet their elderly loved ones’ unique care needs. Our caregivers help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and we offer mentally stimulating activities that can boost cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Specialists today.