August is National Immunization Awareness Month. Immunizations are important because they protect people from serious conditions. People of all ages need certain kinds of immunizations, including older adults. In fact, getting the necessary immunizations may be even more important for seniors than they are for other age groups. That’s because their immune systems are typically weaker than the immune systems of younger people. As a result, they are more likely to have complications from illnesses that could be prevented with a vaccine. In addition to keeping seniors themselves healthy, getting immunized for some things can protect the people around them, including their grandchildren.
Recommended Immunizations for Seniors
Of course, the best way to know which immunizations your aging relative needs is to talk to their doctor. There may be medical conditions that rule out some vaccines or make others necessary. In general, experts recommend the following vaccines for older adults:
• Shingles: Shingles is a condition caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox. It remains dormant in the body and reactivates later in life. Therefore, anyone who has had chicken pox can get shingles. A shingles vaccine can prevent the condition or lessen the chances that serious complications will occur.
• Pneumococcal Vaccines: Pneumococcal diseases include meningitis, pneumonia, and blood infections.
• Flu Vaccine: Flu vaccines can prevent the flu or at least make the symptoms less severe. Older adults should get a flu shot every year since the vaccine is altered every year to protect against strains experts will be most effective that season.
In addition to the shots listed above, the doctor may recommend your aging relative get a Tdap shot, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. In addition to providing the senior some protections, it can also protect their grandchildren from getting pertussis, or whooping cough. Pertussis is especially dangerous to infants, so if your older family member has an infant grandchild, they spend time with, talk to their doctor about whether they should get this vaccine.
Vaccines and Medicare Coverage
Certain vaccines, like the flu and pneumococcal vaccines, are covered by Medicare Part B. It also covers a tetanus shot if the older adult is injured. If your aging relative has Medicare Part D, there may be additional vaccines covered, but there could be some out of pocket costs.
Home care can help your older family member to get the vaccines they need. A home care provider can assist with scheduling an appointment. Home care can also offer transportation to the clinic for seniors to receive their vaccinations. And, afterward, the home care provider can sit with them to make sure there are no side effects.
If you or an aging loved one needs Home Care in Carmichael, CA, remember Senior Home Care Services. Call us at (916) 514-7006 for more information.