In spite of an increased emphasis from the medical community in regards to the importance of immunizations for older adults, a large segment is still not heeding the information – putting these seniors at risk for serious illness and even death. In reality, one out of three adults over age 65 opted against receiving a flu shot last year; two out of three skipped the recommended shingles vaccine; and nearly half of all older adults 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.”
Discover four crucial vaccines below that all seniors should receive – and make plans to take care of them now, before flu season hits.
- Influenza. Up to 85% of deaths from influenza each year occur in people aged 65 and above. Getting the flu vaccine can aid in reducing the chance of death in seniors by approximately 60%. Older adults should get the vaccine created specifically for people 65 or over, which contains four times as much antigen as vaccines for younger adults – addressing the requirements of the diminished immune system that is inherent to growing older.
- Pneumonia. Although pneumonia in and of itself is exceedingly dangerous, there are particular issues that the elderly are more susceptible to develop as well, including meningitis and blood infections. The CDC recommends two vaccines for seniors to safeguard against pneumococcal disease, given a year apart – but as few as 18% of seniors have historically received both shots.
- Shingles. With a new shingles vaccine available now (Shingrix), it is highly recommended that all seniors – even individuals previously vaccinated utilizing the earlier version, Zostavax – get immunized. Two doses are required, given 6 months apart, and the resulting advantage is a greater than 90% protection rate from the disease.
- TDaP. Guarding against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough), this vaccine is especially vital for older adults spending time with babies under 12 months of age, because these diseases could be life-threatening in infants.
Although no vaccine is 100% effective, they can dramatically lessen the chance of contracting illness, and even if an illness such as the flu or shingles does occur, it is frequently less critical for those who have received immunizations.
Hearts at Home In-Home Care, a provider of in home care for seniors in the Kansas City area, has highly trained caregivers who are always available to provide transportation and accompaniment for seniors to get vaccinations, and will assist in a number of other ways to ensure optimal health and wellbeing. Reach out to us at 913-440-4209 to learn more about our in home care for seniors and to get started on increasing quality of life for a senior you love!