According to the National Institutes of Health, pneumonia is one of the ten leading causes of death for seniors over the age of 65. Needless to say, it is vitally important to recognize early signs and symptoms and seek treatment quickly. Adult children and caregivers must be aware of the symptoms of pneumonia and carefully monitor the seniors in their care. Relying on a robust homecare system or homecare software like ClearCare Online can help in this endeavor.
What is Pneumonia?
Pneumonia occurs when pus and other fluids accumulate in the air sacs of the lungs, causing irritation and inflammation. Pneumonia may be caused by bacteria or a virus, and can affect one or both lungs. Pneumonia may be more difficult to detect in seniors with chronic lung problems, so caregivers must be diligent about monitoring all such health conditions. Using a homecare system or homecare software is an excellent way to monitor symptoms, record changes, and communicate concerns to family members and physicians.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Pneumonia
The most common symptoms of pneumonia include:
- Chest pain or tightness
- Shortness of breath
- Dry cough
- Yellow or bloody phlegm
- Decreased appetite
Seniors may not display all of the above symptoms, especially at the onset of pneumonia. If an elderly person in your care demonstrates any of these troubling signs, seek medical attention right away. Be sure to update any medical conditions in your homecare system and homecare software so other caregivers are kept up to date.
Preventing and Treating Pneumonia
The elderly may be more apt to develop pneumonia if they smoke or abuse alcohol. Also at risk are seniors with spleen damage, weakened immune systems, or those who suffer from asthma. All seniors and their caregivers should practice good hygiene habits, such as washing hands frequently, and avoiding contact with those who are ill.
Improving your overall health is an excellent way to prevent pneumonia. Quitting smoking or reducing the amount of alcohol you consume is a great start. A healthy diet (rich in fruits and vegetables) and regular exercise is also critically important.
The Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine (PPSV) is recommended for people older than 65, those who smoke and those with a chronic illness, such as diabetes or heart disease, which increase their risk. Other vaccines – like the flu shot – can also reduce your chances of developing pneumonia. Caregivers can keep track of all vaccines and appointments using their homecare system and homecare software.
ClearCare Online’s homecare system and homecare software was designed to help seniors enjoy living comfortably in their own homes for as long as possible with the assistance of a quality in home care provider.