In spite of a heightened focus from the healthcare community on the importance of immunizations for senior loved ones, a large percentage are still not heeding the information – making these older adults vulnerable for serious disease or even death. The truth is, one out of three adults over age 65 opted against receiving a flu shot this past year; two out of three skipped the recommended shingles vaccine; and nearly 50% of all older adults are not current on tetanus immunizations, according to the CDC.
Infectious-disease specialist William Schaffner, M.D., explains, “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.”
You’ll find four principal vaccines below that all older adults should receive – and now is the best time to make plans to take care of them just before flu season kicks in.
- Influenza. Nearly 85% of deaths from influenza each year occur in people aged 65 and above. Having the flu vaccine can decrease the danger of death in older adults by up to 60%. Older adults should get the vaccine specifically made for ages 65 and up, which consists of four times as much antigen as vaccines for younger adults – addressing the needs of the diminished immune system that’s inherent to aging.
- Pneumonia. While pneumonia in and of itself is extremely dangerous, there are particular issues that the elderly tend to be more vulnerable to develop as well, including meningitis and blood infections. The CDC recommends two vaccines for the elderly to safeguard against pneumococcal disease, given a year apart – but as few as 18% of seniors have typically received both shots.
- Shingles. With a new shingles vaccine available now (Shingrix), it is recommended that all seniors – even those previously vaccinated utilizing the earlier version, Zostavax – get immunized. Two doses are required, given six months apart, and the subsequent advantage is a better than 90% protection rate from the disease.
- TDaP. Guarding against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough), this vaccine is particularly essential for seniors spending time with babies under twelve months of age, since these diseases can be life-threatening in infants.
Although no vaccine is 100% effective, they can significantly lower the chance of contracting illness, and even if an illness such as the flu or shingles does occur, it is commonly less severe for those who’ve received the recommended immunizations.
Enhanced Home Care’s highly trained caregivers are always available to provide transportation and accompaniment for seniors to get vaccinations, and can help in a number of different ways to ensure ideal health and wellbeing. Call us at 913-327-0000 to learn more about our top-rated senior care in Overland Park, KS and get started on improving quality of life for a senior you love!