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Why Are Aging Adults More Susceptible to Pneumonia?

Jan 14, 2019 by The Crafty Caregiver

Cardiac disease and cancer are often associated with aging adults, but another illness, pneumonia, is just as life-threatening for seniors. This respiratory lung infection may be caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungi. More than one million people in the U.S. are hospitalized annually for pneumonia. Many of those are people over 65 years of age. Why are aging adults more susceptible to pneumonia than other age groups?


As people age, their immune system weakens. Natural defenses become less reliable than in younger days, making older adults more vulnerable to illness. Even the common cold or mold spores from a basement, shower, or other area of the home can lead to lung infection. When patients are recuperating from illness or surgery, they’re in a weakened state, and it’s often harder to cough to rid the lungs of infectious elements. Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), HIV, and heart disease all create an even greater challenge for regained health.


This doesn’t mean that pneumonia is a normal part of aging. There’s no guaranteed prevention, but seniors can still be proactive to reduce their chances of pneumonia each year. Older adults are likely to live independently and in better health with the following suggestions.


Reduce Pneumonia Risk

  • Get Vaccinated Against Flu and Pneumonia: If flue can lead to pneumonia, consider getting vaccinated against both – the flu and pneumonia. Talk with your physician about these vaccinations.
  • Create Healthy Hygiene Habits: Washing hands often throughout the day and using hand sanitizer can make a difference. Surfaces like door and grocery cart handles are germ-infested so avoid touching them if possible. Refrain from visiting relatives and friends who are sick.
  • Quit Smoking: The whole body is affected by lighting up. People who smoke are at a higher risk for pneumonia and all other illnesses, as well.
  • Make Good Lifestyle Choices: Follow the doctor’s approved diet to build immunity and exercise regularly to get stronger.


Comfort Keepers® Can Help When Necessary

Comfort Keepers® can help when you or a loved one is recovering from pneumonia. Our trained professional caregivers can give medication reminders. They can also provide transportation, as needed, to doctor appointments. Caregivers can even help with an exercise plan at home.

Contact us today to get more information on in-home care services for you or your loved one.

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