In spite of a heightened emphasis from the medical community in regards to the importance of immunizations for senior loved ones, a large number are still not heeding the advice – putting these seniors at risk for serious illness as well as death. In reality, one out of three adults over age 65 opted not to receive a flu shot this past year; two out of three skipped the recommended shingles vaccine; and nearly half of all seniors are not up to date on tetanus immunizations, according to the CDC.
Infectious-disease specialist William Schaffner, M.D., points out, “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.”
Following you’ll find four key vaccines that all senior loved ones should receive – and now is the best time to make arrangements to take care of them right before flu season kicks in.
- Influenza. As many as 85% of deaths from influenza every year occur in men and women aged 65 and over. Obtaining the flu vaccine can lessen the risk of death in the elderly by nearly 60%. Older adults should be given the vaccine created specifically for ages 65 or over, which is made up of 4 times as much antigen as vaccines for younger adults – addressing the requirements of the weaker immune system that is inherent to aging.
- Pneumonia. While pneumonia in and of itself is extremely dangerous, there are a number of complications that senior loved ones are more vulnerable to develop as well, such as meningitis and blood infections. The CDC recommends two vaccines for seniors to defend against pneumococcal disease, given a year apart – yet as few as 18% of seniors have typically receive both shots.
- Shingles. With a new shingles vaccine currently available (Shingrix), it is highly recommended that all seniors – even people previously vaccinated using the previous version, Zostavax – get immunized. Two doses are needed, given six months apart, and the subsequent benefit is a better than 90% protection rate from the disease.
- TDaP. Safeguarding against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough), this vaccine is especially essential for seniors spending time with babies under twelve months of age, because these diseases may be life-threatening in infants.
While no vaccine is 100% effective, they can dramatically reduce the chance of contracting illness, and even if an illness such as the flu or shingles does occur, it is frequently less severe for individuals who have been immunized.
Compassionate Nursing Service’s professional caregivers are always here to provide transportation and accompaniment for older adults to get vaccinations, and will assist in a variety of different ways to ensure optimal health and wellbeing. Reach out to us at 314-432-4312 to learn more about the home care St. Louis families trust and take the first step to enhancing quality of life for a senior you love!