While pneumonia can happen to anyone regardless of age, statistics have shown that the risk of developing pneumonia increases with age. Pneumonia is also known to be the leading cause of death regarding infectious diseases in the elderly. For older adults above the age of 65, it is estimated that roughly 1,000,000 hospitalizations are admitted for pneumonia and approximately 50,000 deaths are attributed to pneumonia every year in the United States. As such, it comes as no surprise that pneumonia is a cause of concern among older adults. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to help lower the risk of developing pneumonia. Read on to find out some of these tips and tricks to prevent pneumonia in the elderly.
Practicing Good Hygiene
Good hygiene goes a long way, yet hygiene is also, unfortunately, one of the factors that older adults find difficulty in paying attention to. The simple practice of handwashing can be extremely beneficial in eliminating bacteria that cause respiratory infections, thereby reducing the risk of developing pneumonia.
Apart from hand washing, bacteria can also be passed through other means such as through oral or dental infections. As such, good oral hygiene also plays a big part in reducing the risk of developing pneumonia. As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended for older adults to brush their teeth minimally twice a day, once after waking up in the morning, and the other right before they go to bed at night.
If an older adult finds difficulty in maintaining good hygiene without the assistance of a caretaker but still wants to live with freedom, then assisted living communities might be ideal for them. There, professionally-trained caretakers will be able to ensure good hygiene.
Cut Down or Stop Smoking
Being a smoker is one of the biggest risk factors of developing pneumonia. Not only will smoking increase the risk of getting pneumonia, but it also puts a strain on the lung’s ability to recover, thereby lowering the body’s general ability to fight off infections. Smoking can also put you at a higher risk of developing conditions apart from pneumonia such as coronary heart disease, strokes, heart attack, and other related symptoms.
If you know of someone trying to quit or cut down on smoking, you may recommend to them that they try using methods such as nicotine patches.
Taking Good Care of Health
Taking good care of one’s health is no doubt of prime importance when it comes to preventing the likelihood of developing diseases such as pneumonia. With good health, one would have a robust immune system that is capable of fighting off invasive diseases and infections.
Things you can do to facilitate good health include ensuring that you get sufficient quality sleep at night for your body to recover, as well as ensuring a minimal amount of physical exercise is done occasionally. In fact, a simple 20-minute walk every week can also contribute to better health. If you are looking to really improve your general health condition, then you may want to consider the Dimensions Health and Fitness program, where sessions are conducted with the aim of improving the spiritual, mental, as well as physical health of older adults.