The Importance of Immunizations in Senior Living Communities
Posted August 15, 2017

The importance of immunizations in senior living communities is a public health issue. Failure to protect seniors from transmittable diseases could evolve into an epidemic.
It is important for anyone to be properly immunized against specific health risks, and that extends to seniors over the age of 65. This population is particularly vulnerable to contracting transmittable diseases, especially when living in senior communities with close-proximity to others. This reemphasizes the importance of seeing a medical provider for routine check-ups, and to be willing to listen to recommendations for immunizations from a trusted physician. If seniors need to connect with new medical providers, Senior Living Experts is an online resource that can help.

The importance of immunizations in Senior Living communities cannot be overstated

Seniors who are not protected with immunizations and vaccinations are at greater risk of contracting diseases and illnesses that could be life-threatening for those with compromised immune systems. Consider the close-proximity of communal living situations, and the environment is prime for an outbreak or epidemic. Make sure to visit physicians regularly for updates on current health dangers and for information pertaining to new immunization standards.
Some ways that immunizations impact seniors in communal settings are:

Prevents outbreaks

Getting vaccines protects public health from transmittable diseases such as the flu and pneumonia, which can have a deadly impact on seniors. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommends that individuals over age 65 get immunized against:

  • Diphtheria is an infectious disease that often manifests in coughing, shortness of breath, and skin ulcers. When left untreated, this condition can exacerbate to cardiac arrest.
  • If you want to prevent contracting Shingles, you need to be vaccinated for Chickenpox. Signs of Shingles include a painful, itchy rash, and flu-like symptoms; if left untreated, Shingles can get in the eyes causing permanent eye damage.
  • Tetanus is also called ‘lockjaw’ and impacts the brain and nervous system. Some early signs of Tetanus include diarrhea, headache, and fever, that can evolve into difficulty breathing, muscle spasms, and even death. The best prevention is vaccination.
  • Whooping cough symptoms first emerge about ten-days after you have been infected; early signs resemble a nasty cold- runny nose, watery eyes, and a cough. However, in a couple weeks the symptoms worsen to include difficulty breathing, uncontrollable coughing, fatigue, and vomiting.

Decreases co-occurring complications

It makes sense that any contracted illness or disease can further complicate existing health conditions, and seniors are no different. When multiple symptoms emerge, it can be more difficult to, first, diagnose the condition, and, second, treat the co-occurring medical issues. Medication can further complicate the situation as what may work for one symptom or disorder could antagonize or aggravate the newly-contracted illness or disease. The best way to protect yourself from what could be life-threatening complications is to see your provider regularly and to be fully-immunized against illnesses that cause the greatest risks, especially in communal living scenarios.

Preserves autonomy and independence

Autonomy during aging is critical to many seniors and serious illness threatens this independence. Preserving one’s health through routine medical appointments, daily diet, exercise, sleep hygiene, and socialization are key in maintaining this freedom and autonomy in later years. Caregivers can help by encouraging independence but also remaining mindful of some seniors’ ability to downplay symptoms of illness or their resistance to intervention when they are sick or symptomatic. Some communities offer health fairs or immunization clinics that emphasize ways to stay well, i.e. such as by offering free flu shots to seniors and the elderly.

Fosters socialization and engagement

Illness impacts socialization and engagement, which are integral to holistic health and well-being for seniors. When individuals are sick, they may isolate and withdraw; while this can protect others from exposure to illness, it makes it more difficult to diagnose and treat the afflicted and can affect integration and overall quality of life. Furthermore, encouraging individuals that have undetected illness to participate in social activities offered in senior community settings can be creating a breeding ground for an illness to fester into a full-blown epidemic and health crisis for many.

Talk to the experts about immunizations

Are you up to date on your immunizations? Before moving into a senior community, make sure that you are protected against any germs or illnesses that could be present among the resident population. Senior Living Experts can lead you to the right physician with experience caring for older individuals, while also suggesting providers to suit your distinct needs, health condition, and locality.
Wondering if you are immunized against serious illness? Reach out to Senior Living Experts and find a provider in your area that can help make sure that you are protected. These professionals are experienced with older populations and understand the complications, risks, and difficulties that come from contracting these diseases and illnesses when over the age of 65. Take advantage of the online resources that Senior Living Experts provides, and connect with a health provider today!

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