Elder Care in Clive IA: FAQs About Pneumonia in SeniorsIf you take care of an elderly loved one, you may worry about them getting pneumonia. According to the Centers for Disease Control, millions of seniors suffer with pneumonia each year. Many are so sick that they must be hospitalized. Even with expert medical care, more than 50,000 seniors die each year from complications from pneumonia.

Family caregivers must learn more about pneumonia, so they can take steps to both prevent their loved ones from getting it and know what to do in case they do contract the illness. Likewise, they should ask others in the support group such as elder care providers and friends to report any symptoms they might notice.

Here are some frequently asked questions about pneumonia and elderly adults.

Q: What is pneumonia?

A: Pneumonia is when the lungs are infected from a virus or bacteria. It leads to the swelling and inflammation of the tiny air sacs in the lungs. The air sacs also fill with fluid, making it hard to breathe and take in enough oxygen. As a result, the aging adult experiences a lot of health issues.

Q: Is pneumonia worse in seniors than other adults?

A: Elderly adults are more affected by pneumonia for several reasons. They are often less robust and may already be dealing with other chronic health issues that leave them at risk. Aging adults often take longer to fight off infections, too, due to weakened immune systems.

Q: What are the risk factors of developing pneumonia in seniors?

A: Besides age and poor health, other risk factors for developing pneumonia include lung diseases, heart conditions, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Seniors with a weakened immune system due to chemotherapy or certain medications may also be at a higher risk for pneumonia. Recent surgery can also increase the chances for seniors.

Q: What are the symptoms of pneumonia?

A: The most common symptoms of pneumonia in elderly adults are coughing and fever. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, pale and clammy skin, phlegm during coughing, chills, chest pain and confusion or lack of focus. If elder care providers or family members notice the symptoms, they should get medical help for the elderly adult.

Q: How is pneumonia treated in elderly adults?

A: Many doctors will order a blood test and a chest x-ray to diagnose pneumonia. In many cases, they will prescribe antibiotics or an anti-viral medicine. They may need fluids to rehydrate and medication to control their fever. In many cases, seniors must be hospitalized for breathing treatments and round-the-clock monitoring.

Q: How can family caregivers, elder care providers and seniors prevent pneumonia?

A: Of all the things to do to prevent pneumonia, family caregivers and elderly care providers can wash their hands and cover when they cough or sneeze. Pneumonia vaccines are also popular with aging adults, reducing their risk.

IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING IN-HOME ELDER CARE IN CLIVE, IA, FOR AN ELDERLY LOVED ONE, CONTACT GOLDEN HEART SENIOR CARE OF DES MOINES, IA AT 515-631-5033. OUR CARING STAFF CAN ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS!