Pneumonia is an infection that occurs when the air sacs in the lungs become inflamed. The lung infection can lead to severe complications for the elderly, including death. Below are some of things family caregivers should know about pneumonia, including its causes, symptoms, treatments, and prevention tips.
Causes of the Disease
Older adults are often exposed to germs through other family members, caregivers, and places they visit. Exposure to certain bacteria can lead to infections like pneumonia. Decreasing health, including poor lung function and immune systems, can lead to deadly infections. Living with conditions like heart disease and diabetes can also increase the risk of lung infections among older adults, as well as other severe health problems. Older adults are more susceptible to the flu or common colds, which can turn into more severe health conditions like pneumonia, so immediate treatment and excellent lifestyle habits are vital to the elderly.
There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional home care. Allen families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place.
Recognizing the signs of pneumonia allows seniors to get treatment immediately and could prevent serious complications. One of the most common warning signs of pneumonia among the elderly is shortness of breath. The fluid in the lungs and blockage of the airways makes it difficult for older adults to breathe. Other symptoms include high fevers, coughs that produce bloody or yellow mucus, sharp pains, appetite loss, sweating, shivering chills, and low energy levels.
Most doctors order blood tests when pneumonia is suspected, as well as chest scans. Treatment often includes antiviral medications or antibiotics, depending on if the infection is viral or bacterial. The medicine is prescribed to treat the symptoms and boost lung function. To treat pneumonia, your parent should also eat healthy foods, drink plenty of fluids, and get adequate amounts of rest, regardless if he or she isn’t tired or feels a little better.
If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of in-home care. Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services.
Even with treatment, older adults can face dangerous complications caused by pneumonia, such as bacteria in the bloodstream. When bacteria spread through the bloodstream, it could damage other organs and cause them to fail. Difficulty breathing is one of the most common dangers associated with lung infections. Most seniors recover from pneumonia within a few weeks, but it can be a fatal infection, especially for older adults with poor health.
Maintaining a robust immune system, healthy lungs, and practicing excellent hygiene are some of the best ways to stave off infections like pneumonia. Seniors should wash their hands frequently, including each time they return from the outdoors, because this lowers the risk of contracting viruses that can cause lung infections. Family caregivers need to keep the home cleaned thoroughly with disinfectant products that kill bacteria and viruses immediately. Another good option for older adults is a pneumonia vaccination. Speak with your loved one’s doctor about the benefits of the vaccination, as well as any side effects.
Avoiding pneumonia and other serious illnesses can help seniors maintain their independence while aging in place. Living independently is important for seniors who want to maintain a high quality of life. For some, this simply means receiving help with tasks that have become more challenging to manage over time. Even when families have the best intentions, they may not have the time to provide the care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. If your loved one needs help for a few hours a day or a few days a week, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of respite care Allen seniors can depend on. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (972) 548-0392 to schedule a complimentary consultation.