Cases of pneumonia spike nationwide in the winter months, and this is especially dangerous for high-risk groups such as children and elderly adults. Seniors across the country make thousands of hospital visits due to pneumonia and related complications, and some of these cases even result in fatalities. A family caregiver must be on the lookout for pneumonia symptoms in their aging loved ones, so they can get medical help right away and help their relative heal quickly.
Recognizing Symptoms of Pneumonia in Seniors
Pneumonia describes what happens when the lungs, particularly the air sacs within, become infected and swollen. Inflamed air sacs make it very difficult for the aging adult to breathe, which in turn limits oxygen levels in the bloodstream. The inflammation leads to fluid in the lungs, which can further hinder a person’s health and wellness.
Symptoms of pneumonia include coughing, wheezing, chest pain, fever and fatigue. Their coughs are usually productive at bringing phlegm up. Seniors often have a hard time recovering from pneumonia because their immune systems are generally weakened due to age and other chronic health conditions. If a caregiver suspects pneumonia in their elderly relative, they should schedule a doctor’s appointment right away.
Treating Pneumonia in Seniors
Without swift treatment for pneumonia, an elderly adult can die. That’s why it is so important for family caregivers to recognize the symptoms and get help for their aging relatives. . Usually, seniors are given antibiotics as the first line of treatment to attempt to get the lung infection under control. In the hospital, elderly patients may be intubated and put on a respirator to deliver breathing treatments. Depending on their current health and strength, seniors with pneumonia may stay in the hospital for several days or even weeks.
If an elderly adult is recovering from pneumonia at home, they are going to need all the help they can get. Hiring a caregiver is a good way for aging adults to be able to relax and recover without worrying about things like meal preparation, housekeeping and laundry. The caregiver can help seniors remember when to take medication, ensure they drink plenty of fluids, watch for spiking fevers and notify family members if the aging adult grows sicker.
Family caregivers and home care providers can do a lot to help the aging adult to avoid pneumonia. Because the illness is contagious, the top prevention practice is for everyone to wash their hands frequently throughout the day. Seniors can get a pneumonia prevention vaccine in the fall that will reduce their risk of catching the illness. A healthy diet and regular exercise puts the body in a prime position to resist infection. Everyone should cover their mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing as the germs are spread through the air.
Pneumonia is a serious health issue that plagues millions of elderly Americans every ear. Family caregivers and home care providers can work together to reduce the risks as well as watch for symptoms so the aging adult can get the medical help they need when and if they do catch it.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Caregiver Services in Highland Park IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.