Despite a greater emphasis from the health community regarding the need for immunizations for senior loved ones, a sizable percentage are still not heeding the information – placing these older adults in jeopardy for serious illness as well as death. In reality, 1 out of 3 adults over age 65 opted against receiving a flu shot last year; 2 out of 3 skipped the recommended shingles vaccine; and almost half of all older adults are not up to date on tetanus immunizations, according to the CDC.
Infectious-disease specialist William Schaffner, M.D., points out, “As we get older, our immune system becomes much less robust, which means we’re not just at risk for getting diseases like the flu and shingles but of developing life-threatening consequences from them.”
Discover four key vaccines below that all seniors should receive – and now is the best time to make arrangements to take care of them before flu season occurs.
- Influenza. Up to 85% of deaths from influenza each year occur in men and women aged 65 and above. Obtaining the flu vaccine can aid in reducing the chance of death in the elderly by up to 60%. Seniors should be given the vaccine specifically designed for ages 65 or over, which is made up of four times as much antigen as vaccines for younger adults – addressing the requirements of the weakened immune system that’s natural to getting older.
- Pneumonia. Although pneumonia in and of itself is exceedingly dangerous, there are specific complications that seniors tend to be more susceptible to develop as well, such as meningitis and blood infections. The CDC advises two vaccines for the elderly to guard against pneumococcal disease, given one year apart – however, as few as 18% of older adults have historically received both shots.
- Shingles. With a new shingles vaccine currently available (Shingrix), it’s highly recommended that all older adults – even people originally vaccinated with the previous version, Zostavax – get immunized. Two doses are required, given six months apart, and the resulting benefit is a greater than 90% protection rate from the disease.
- TDaP. Protecting against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough), this vaccine is especially essential for seniors spending time with babies under twelve months of age, because these diseases can be life-threatening in infants.
Although no vaccine is 100% effective, they are able to drastically lower the chance of contracting illness, and even if an illness such as the flu or shingles does occur, it’s typically less serious for those who’ve been immunized.
Morning Glory Home Care’s highly trained caregivers are always here to provide transportation and accompaniment for senior loved ones to get vaccinations, and will provide assistance with a number of different tasks to ensure optimal health and wellbeing. Reach out to us at 618-667-8400 to learn more about our exceptional Chesterfield companion care and get started on improving quality of life for a senior you love!