Senior Care Blog Wayland and Weston

Tips for Avoiding Some Myths about Pneumonia

By Denise Roskamp

Home Care in Sudbury MA

As cold and flu season bears down, causing coughing, sneezing, snuffling, and all-around misery to many people, as a caregiver you need to keep in mind that it is not only these risks that your parent is facing during this time. For aging adults who are coping with a lower immune system than younger adults, this is a time when they are at increased risk of a potentially fatal lung infection known as pneumonia. It is extremely important that you understand this condition and how it impacts your parent so that you can help them avoid the illness or manage it in the way that is best for them should it arise during their later years.

Some of the myths about pneumonia include:

• Pneumonia is just a cold that has gotten worse. While pneumonia can develop after your elderly parent has suffered a cold, this illness is not just a worse version of this common sickness. Instead, it is a serious infection within the lungs that is responsible for the deaths of approximately 500,000 people throughout the United States each year.

• Pneumonia only occurs in elderly people. Elderly adults are at higher risk of suffering pneumonia, but this illness can and does occur in people of other ages as well. This is important for you to know as a caregiver because if you, your child, or someone else who comes in contact with your parent contracts this illness they can then spread it to your parent, putting them at risk of serious consequences, including death.

• Pneumonia is only for sick people. If your elderly parent is strong and healthy, you might feel that they are not susceptible to pneumonia. The reality, however, is that this sickness occurs in healthy people as well as sickly people. It is a serious infection that can develop rapidly both after a bout of cold or flu and without the presence of such an illness.

• Pneumonia is not preventable. The thought of your elderly adult contracting pneumonia can be scary and it is easy to think that there is nothing that you can do, but the fortunate reality is that this infection is highly preventable. The use of basic germ control measures, including making handwashing a regular part of their care routine and preventing contact with people who are ill, can dramatically reduce the chances that your parent will develop such an illness. Consider discussing the potential benefits of the pneumonia vaccine with your senior’s doctor to determine if this option might be right for them.

If your parent has recently been diagnosed with pneumonia or you are concerned about them maintaining their health as they age in place, starting home care for them can be a tremendous help. The highly personalized services of an in-home senior care services provider can help your parent to manage their health concerns, remain compliant with their prescriptions and any other guidelines their doctor gives them, and make lifestyle choices that will help them to stay healthier and stronger throughout their later years.