The flu and pneumonia affect people of all ages, but these illnesses pose an increased risk of serious complications for seniors who have underlying medical conditions. Taking steps to prevent the flu and pneumonia is the simplest way to avoid the potential for dangerous complications.
Vaccinations protect seniors against seasonal flu and pneumonia. Annual flu vaccines protect against seasonal strains of the virus, while pneumonia vaccines are given in two doses and provide long-lasting protection against certain types of the illness. Talk to your aging loved one’s physician to determine whether flu and pneumonia vaccinations are the right option for your loved one. Schedule flu vaccines early in the season to ensure availability.
Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional Dallas senior care. Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.
Support the Immune System
A healthy diet that contains plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins reduces the risk of illness by supporting the immune system. Foods rich in antioxidants, including vitamin C, are particularly important to prevent illness. Antioxidant-rich foods include blueberries, citrus fruits, and superfoods like kale and acai berries. Fermented foods, including yogurt with active cultures, also support a healthy immune system.
Develop Healthy Habits
Excellent hygiene prevents common illnesses that are spread from person to person, including the seasonal flu and some types of viral pneumonia. Some healthy hygiene habits to focus on include:
- Regularly washing your hands and encouraging your loved one to wash his or her hands often
- Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces in the home with an FDA-approved disinfectant
- Avoiding sick people during cold and flu season
- Changing clothes after going into public spaces and switching to indoor-only shoes when returning home
- Encouraging your loved one to avoid touching his or her face with unwashed hands
Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of home care service. Dallas families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
Exercise supports a healthy immune system, but it also prevents pneumonia by encouraging good respiratory health. Try a modified exercise routine if your loved one has limited mobility. For example, your loved one may be able to stretch while sitting in a chair if he or she has difficulty standing. Low-impact exercises are an option that boosts overall health without causing stress on the body. Swimming, gardening, and doing modified yoga are suitable for most seniors. If you need help developing an exercise routine for your loved one, talk to the doctor.
Stress releases cortisol, a hormone that contributes to reduced immune system function. Exercise can reduce stress, but if your loved one is having difficulty, talking to a professional is recommended. In addition, depression and other mental disorders such as anxiety are common among the elderly. Treating these disorders can reduce the effects of stress, resulting in better wellbeing and overall health.
Preventing illnesses such as the flu and pneumonia is important because they can lead to more significant health issues. Living with serious health conditions can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Dallas seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more. Call Home Care Assistance at (214) 363-3400 today to talk to one of our compassionate Care Managers about our high-quality home care services.