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5 Ways to Ward Off Pneumonia in the Elderly

Pneumonia can be a serious health complication at any age, especially for seniors. Because the elderly have a harder time fighting off serious conditions such as pneumonia, it’s important to ward off complications that can contribute to the illness. When providing elder home care Bridgewater seniors can benefit from, try these suggestions to help reduce your loved one’s risk of developing pneumonia.

1. Getting Vaccinated

One of the simplest ways to keep your loved one protected from contracting pneumonia is to ensure he or she gets vaccinated each flu season. Generally, a variety of locations, including clinics, health departments, and in-store pharmacies offer discounted pneumonia and flu shots for seniors this time of year, meaning it is both cost effective and easy to make sure your loved one receives the vaccine. 

2. Maintaining Good General Health 

If a senior is in good overall health, the immune system is at its strongest and can ward off pneumonia and other infections. Encourage your loved one to make sound health decisions. With your help or the assistance of a live-in or hourly Bridgewater caregiver, ensure he or she gets three healthy, well balanced meals every day, exercises regularly, and has a chance to socialize and participate in mentally stimulating activities. Also, ensure your loved one participates in routine age-recommended screenings and checkups. 

3. Practicing Good Personal Hygiene

Proper hygiene can go a long way toward keeping a senior protected from pneumonia. Since other infections ranging from colds to the flu can turn into pneumonia, keep your loved one from getting sick in the first place by encouraging good hygiene habits. Senior skin can be sensitive, especially in the winter, so supply your loved one with high-quality, gentle soap to encourage washing frequently without worry of chapping or rawness. Also, make sure your loved one carries hand sanitizer for times when washing simply isn’t convenient. Your loved one should be washing his or her hands before meals, after doing any cleaning, after personal hygiene tasks like bathing, and after being exposed to other people who may have been ill.

4. Avoiding Smoking 

If your loved one is a smoker, convince him or her to break the habit. Smokers are far more likely to develop pneumonia and a host of other respiratory-related health issues because smoking decreases the ability of the lungs to defend against infections. It’s also important for your loved one to avoid secondhand smoke, which studies are showing is almost as dangerous as firsthand smoking. After quitting, even seniors who have smoked for years start to experience health benefits and more protection than current smokers. 

5. Keeping Up with Oral Care

Many pneumonia infections can be traced back to lax oral care since an infection can initially develop around the teeth and spread. Since healthy oral care is just as important as other preventions in the fight against pneumonia, make sure your loved one is brushing his or her teeth or dentures twice daily and flossing. You can make flossing easier by purchasing preloaded, disposable flossing wands. A disinfectant mouthwash may also be helpful.

Maintaining healthy habits can do more than just protect against pneumonia. To learn more about how making healthy lifestyle decisions can promote your loved one’s quality of life, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers can help with a wide variety of daily tasks, including meal prep, grooming, and cleaning. We also offer Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and post-stroke care in Bridgewater for seniors who need more extensive care. For more information, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at 908.450.9400 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.