How Aging Affects Seniors Immune Systems
As we age, our immune systems slow down. It’s like metabolism, which starts out high and slows down. However, metabolism slows down and stops. At age 60, the immune system starts to slow and may weaken. Immunosenescence is the medical term for this process. Since the body ages, it takes longer for your body to realize it has an infection. As a result, seniors get sick more often, and a cough can turn into a serious illness. And new infections become a severe problem (e.g., meningitis).
With some conditions, such as autoimmune syndrome related arthritis, immunosenescence can occur prematurely, and a weakened immune system means wounds take longer to heal and impair vaccination responses. This is why seniors develop osteoarthritis, atherosclerotic disease, and certain cancers. To help treat with pains like these, learn how senior care would be able to help.
Caregivers Helping Seniors Get Healthy
Being a senior doesn’t mean that switching to a healthy lifestyle (or getting back on a healthy track) cannot be done. Caregivers are the best resource elderly parents have to improve their health. There are some ways caregivers can help achieve this goal.
- Arrange Doctor’s Appointments – It’s important to schedule and keep doctor’s appointments, especially for vaccinations. Sometimes seniors need to hear from their doctor how their health is declining due to a poor diet or ignoring warning signs of a much severe health issue (i.e., heart attack). By not getting vaccinated, seniors are at a greater risk of developing an infectious disease. Some vaccinations need to be administered in certain age groups. For example, young children receive the chickenpox vaccination.
As seniors, the urgency of getting the flu shot skyrockets due to a weakened immune system. Without the vaccination, one can develop the flu, which can lead to pneumonia. Pneumonia can be deadly for seniors. Shingles is another infectious disease from which to be protected. It is caused by the chickenpox virus and remains dormant. However, as a senior, it can become active and cause other complications.
- Exercise – It gives our immune systems a boost. Recent studies show that seniors who regularly exercised had a younger immune system compared to those that did not exercise. If your parent has never been one to exercise, taking a daily walk is a great start. It’s also a great way to get your parent out of the house with you or your caregiver.
- Nutrition – We all know that nutrition is the hallmark of a healthy lifestyle. Adult children know this all too well since elderly parents, especially with dementia, can sometimes make poor food choices on their own. A home care nurse will ensure that meals are properly prepared with nutritious foods. A balanced diet also strengthens the immune system (e.g., fruits and vegetables replacing high-fat and high-caloric foods). It’s also recommended to encourage a parent to reduce alcohol consumption and attempt smoking cessation. A parent with dementia or Alzheimer’s that smokes needs additional supervision to prevent burns and fires.
Home Care Solutions
As a caregiver, making sure your parent is active and healthy is a tough job and is often frustrating. Understanding the benefits of home care solutions will help take care of the proper treatments.
When a senior has a weakened immune system and develops an infectious disease or a chronic condition, it complicates your job. In such circumstances, having a home care nurse could help tremendously with seniors in need.
At Comfort Keepers, our staff has the experience to watch for the warning signs of declining health. They can create an interactive plan to get your parent back on a healthy track. This may mean introducing daily exercise, creating a meal plan, administering medications, or taking extra steps to prevent illness (e.g. not being around kids or adults with colds).
We provide affordable and trusted home care aid to give you and your family peace of mind. Contact us today at (877) 698-9394.