Jan 10, 2019 by Mark McGoldrick
The National Institute of Health recommends that all seniors over the age of 50 get a flu shot every year. After all, 60 percent of those hospitalized for flu-related reasons are seniors, and seniors account for 90 percent of flu-related fatalities. The flu vaccination could dramatically reduce these numbers. In addition to annual flu shots, seniors should check to see if they need any immunization boosters. These include vaccinations for tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, and hepatitis. It is also suggested that seniors over 60 get a shingles and pneumonia vaccine as well as two different vaccines to prevent pneumococcal disease.
Despite the success of vaccinations, only 66 percent of seniors over 65 or get a flu vaccination with even less (46 percent) being immunized for pneumonia, and a mere 16 percent of seniors take advantage of the shingles vaccine.
Experts believe much of the reason for these low percentages is a lack of information. Simply put, as a nation, we need to do a better job of making sure elders understand senior immunizations. Many seniors simply don't know what immunizations are available or why they are important. Others mistakenly believe that their childhood immunizations are still going strong. Most immunizations only protect you for about 10 years.
There is also a belief that the risks of immunizations outweigh the benefits. In fact, respiratory diseases, like pneumonia and influenza, which could be prevented by vaccinations, are the eighth leading cause of death among seniors. The risk of serious complications or death increases with common senior ailments like diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cardiovascular disease. For example, diabetics are three times more likely to die from the flu than non-diabetics.
Shingles is an excruciatingly painful disease similar to chicken pox that can last for months or even years. Shingles often leads to postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) which causes severe, debilitating pain, permanent nerve damage, blindness, and increases the risk for stroke and pneumonia.
Comfort Keepers’ elderly care can help you keep track of your current immunizations, schedule needed boosters, and make sure you are ready for flu season. Elderly care providers also provide local transportation services, so you can get safely to and from appointments while providing comforting and compassionate physical and emotional support.
For more information about senior immunizations or to learn more about the many ways that Comfort Keepers’ elderly care services can help maximize your safety, independence, and quality of life, contact a care coordinator today.