The Importance of Immunizations for Older Adults

The arrival of flu season often means getting a flu shot. For those over 65, however, the importance increases greatly: 90% of all flu deaths in the U.S. occur in the over-65 bracket. Because of this, it is recommended that seniors receive a higher-dose flu vaccine designed to work with aging systems. But the need for immunizations in seniors doesn’t end with flu shots; because immune systems weaken as the body ages, a broad range of immunizations is necessary to maintain optimal health. To help seniors at home or in independent care, Cypress HomeCare of Arizona has put together this general overview of immunization recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC):

1. Chicken Pox and Shingles – Even though the same virus causes both afflictions, a childhood immunization against pox doesn’t necessarily mean protection from the shingles virus later in life (shingles causes painful red skin rashes). All persons over 60 should schedule a 2-dose shingles immunization.

2. Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Perussis – These should be administered every 10 years. Seniors who have been in contact with a child with whooping cough (pertussis) should get one immediately, as well as a Tdap vaccine two weeks before spending time with any newborn.

3. Meningitis, Ear/Sinus Infections (Pneumococcal Disease) – This infection can lead to many different illnesses in seniors, the worst of which is pneumonia. The PPSV23 and PV13 vaccines help prevent diseases like meningitis and sinus infections and, ultimately, pneumonia. Dosages depend on medical history.

4.  Hepatitis B – This liver disease causes serious liver damage, including scarring and even cancer. People over 60 with diabetes are especially vulnerable, as are persons traveling to countries with high instances of Hep B. Immunization is a one-time, three-dosage series of shots.

Talk to your doctor today about staying up-to-date with all your immunizations. At Cypress HomeCare agency in Phoenix, we understand that optimal health is essential for both the physical and emotional well-being of seniors in independent care. We believe in empowering seniors, and our senior caregivers in Phoenix provide thoughtful and respectful care to achieve that goal. Voted the best home care agency in Phoenix in 2012, Cypress HomeCare is committed to the highest excellence in all aspects of independent care for seniors. If you need a senior caregiver in Phoenix, or want more information on our innovative Arizona home care services, call 602-264-8009 or contact us.

Posted on September 20, 2013