Jan 24, 2019 by Mark McGoldrick
Pneumonia is particularly dangerous for seniors and is a leading cause of mortality. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that each year in the United States more people die from pneumonia than car accidents.
Pneumonia is a respiratory disorder. Specifically, it is an infection caused by bacteria, virus, or fungus that causes the lungs to fill with liquid and pus. This makes it difficult to breathe and the lungs lose the ability to get enough oxygen to the body. Even mild cases of pneumonia that are caught and treated early can make it difficult for seniors to get around or carry out daily living tasks. In these cases, Comfort Keepers’ home care can make a significant difference.
Common home care supports include light housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation, and transportation; as well as personal care like toileting, bathing, grooming, and dressing support. Caregivers can also evaluate your home for fall hazards and other safety issues.
While seniors have a greater risk of pneumonia than younger individuals, they also tend to show fewer initial signs and symptoms. This makes catching pneumonia in a timely manner more difficult. Many seniors simply think they are tired or feeling a bit under the weather. A home care provider can help identify the signs when you may not so you can get the immediate treatment pneumonia requires. Common signs and symptoms include:
Of course, preventing pneumonia in the first place should be your goal. This starts with reducing the risks associated with the illnesses that lead to it. For example, frequent hand washing with soap is one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of viruses and bacteria. It is so important that you may want to consider putting a reminder sign in the bathroom and near sinks.
The CDC, Mayo Clinic, and other big-name medical experts say that the number one way to limit the risk of pneumonia is to get immunized. Despite the pneumonia vaccinations success at preventing or reducing the disease's severity, fewer than half of American seniors take advantage of it.
Dental hygiene is also important since tooth and gum infections have been directly linked to many cases of pneumonia. Brushing, flossing, and using an anti-bacterial mouthwash can help.
Pneumonia is a serious disease that leads to many senior injuries, fatalities, and loss of enjoyment of life. Even so, with proper planning, precautions, and assistance, you can avoid or successfully cope with it. For more information about pneumonia or the many ways Comfort Keepers’ home care can help you address safety, nutrition, and your overall enjoyment of life, contact a care coordinator today.