In spite of a heightened focus from the medical community in regards to the importance of maintaining an adult immunization schedule, a considerable segment is still not heeding the information – putting these older adults in jeopardy of serious illness or even death. In reality, 1 out of 3 adults over age 65 opted not to receive a flu shot last year; 2 out of 3 skipped the recommended shingles vaccine; and nearly 50% 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.”
You’ll find four crucial vaccines below that all seniors should receive – and now is the perfect time to make arrangements to take care of them before flu season hits.
- Influenza. Nearly 85% of deaths from influenza every year occur in individuals aged 65 and over. Receiving the flu vaccine can lessen the risk of death in seniors by approximately 60%. Older adults should be given the vaccine specifically designed for ages 65 and up, which contains four times as much antigen as vaccines for younger adults – addressing the requirements of the weakened immune system that is inherent to growing older.
- Pneumonia. While pneumonia in and of itself is extremely dangerous, there are specific complications that the elderly are more susceptible to develop as well, such as meningitis and blood infections. The CDC recommends two vaccines for senior loved ones to safeguard against pneumococcal disease, given one year apart – but yet as few as 18% of seniors have typically received both shots.
- Shingles. With a new shingles vaccine now available (Shingrix), it’s highly recommended that all older adults – even individuals previously vaccinated utilizing the earlier version, Zostavax – get immunized. Two doses are needed, given six months apart, and the resulting benefit is a better than 90% protection rate from the disease.
- TDaP. Guarding against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough), this vaccine is particularly necessary for seniors spending time with babies under twelve months of age, as these diseases could be life-threatening in infants.
Although no vaccine is 100% effective, they can significantly decrease the potential for contracting illness, and even if an illness such as the flu or shingles does occur, it is frequently less severe for individuals who’ve been immunized.
Home With You Senior Care, a trusted provider of elder care in Howard County and surrounding areas, is always here to provide transportation and accompaniment for senior loved ones to get vaccinations, and can aid in a number of different ways to ensure ideal health and wellbeing. Contact us at 410-756-0959 to learn more about our elder care in Howard County and nearby areas and to get started on improving quality of life for a senior you love!