Sep 7, 2017 by Comfort Keepers
In the United States, September is Healthy Aging Month. This annual observance gives people the chance to reflect upon the many benefits and challenges that are associated with healthy aging. Ranging from physical and mental health to social, cognitive, and even financial considerations, the topics of Healthy Aging Month are bountiful. The most important part of the equation is that seniors stop and take the time to reflect on their lives.
One of the most important aspects to healthy aging is maintaining a strong immune system. As we age, our body often loses some of its ability to fight off the bugs and viruses that can lead to serious medical conditions. Thankfully, by getting the right vaccinations, seniors can bolster their immune system and significantly reduce their risk of developing a number of serious illnesses. As part of Health Aging Month, assisted living caregivers should remind seniors about the important role immunizations play in their health, and check to make sure their vaccinations are up-to-date.
Seniors who are not living in an assisted living setting should pay special attention to their own vaccination history, especially when it comes to the following protections:
TDAP: The TDAP vaccination helps protect seniors from Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (Whooping Cough). This vaccination should be updated every 10 years. The TDAP vaccination does not just protect the senior, but it also decreases the risk that they act as a carrier and pass any of these serious illnesses on to their grandchildren.
Shingles: Most seniors have had or been immunized from chicken pox. What many seniors do not know is that having chicken pox makes them vulnerable to a second, and much more severe condition known as shingles. Shingles comes from the same bacteria that causes chicken pox and results in a terrible, painful rash. Thankfully, a vaccination can significantly decrease the likelihood of an outbreak. In the rare event that a senior has not had chicken pox, they will need to get both the chicken pox and the shingles vaccine even though the two conditions come from the same bacteria.
Pneumococcal: One of the most dangerous conditions for any senior is pneumonia. There are simply too many instances where a senior goes into the hospital with pneumonia and does not come back out. Even if a senior had a pneumococcal vaccination when they were younger, they should check with their physician to see about a booster. While a vaccination can help decrease the risk of senior pneumonia, assisted living personnel should ensure seniors understand that the greatest way to reduce risks is by not smoking, avoiding second-hand smoke, exercising regularly, and practicing a healthy lifestyle.
There are many other vaccinations that should be considered and discussed, and Healthy Aging Month is the perfect time for those conversations. Among the most common of these other protections are the flu shot, tetanus, mumps, measles, meningitis, and Hepatitis A and B.
For more information about healthy aging or the many ways Comfort Keepers can help your senior loved one maximize the quality of their senior years, contact as senior care coordinator today.
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