Many of us think of childhood vaccines when we think of immunizations. As a result, it can be easy to forget that some immunizations are needed at all stages of life, even into old age. If it has been a while since your aging relative has received a vaccine, it may be a good idea to learn more about which vaccines older adults need. Below are some of them. Talk to the senior’s doctor to find out specific vaccines they may need.
The flu vaccine is a shot that seniors should receive every year. Each year, the vaccination changes to protect against the strains of the flu scientists believe will be most prevalent that year. Because seniors are at a higher risk for the flu because of weakened immune systems, it is important that they receive the vaccine each year. It is especially important for those who have chronic conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes. Although the flu shot isn’t a 100 percent guarantee that your older family member will not get the flu, it does reduce the risk by as much as 60 percent.
The pneumococcal vaccine protects older adults against certain infections, including pneumonia, meningitis, and bacteremia, an infection in the bloodstream. There are actually two pneumococcal vaccines that healthy people over the age of 65 should receive. However, they should not get them at the same time. The shots should be given a year apart.
The shingles vaccine protects against a condition that arises from the chicken pox virus that lays dormant in a person’s body after they have had the chicken pox at any time in their life. Shingles causes a painful, itchy rash and can have long term neurological effects.
Tdap Vaccine or Td booster
The Tdap vaccine, introduced in 2005, protects against tetanus, meningitis, and whooping cough. If your aging relative hasn’t had the shot, they should get it. The Td booster is a shot that is needed every 10 years to protect against tetanus. When an older adult receives the Tdap vaccine, it can take the place of one Td booster.
If your older family member is in need of vaccinations, home care can help. A home care provider can drive the older adult to an appointment to receive vaccines. In addition to driving to the appointment, the home care provider can help your loved one to get safely into the building and wait with them. Afterward, home care can remain with them for a time to make certain they don’t have any negative reactions to the vaccinations.