What Are the Top Infections Among Older Adults?

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Top Infections Among Seniors in New Hampshire

Older adults often have inefficient immune systems, which increases the risk of developing infections. The American Academy of Family Physicians reports approximately one-third of deaths in adults over the age of 65 are related to infections. Some infections are especially common in the elderly. However, there are steps seniors and their families can take to promote better health and reduce the risk of many types of infections.

Influenza

A weakened immune system, combined with other chronic medical conditions, leaves seniors susceptible to serious complications should they come down with the flu. Fever, chills, cough, and respiratory congestion are common flu symptoms. Eventually, the virus may travel deep into the lungs, causing pneumonia. Physicians recommend seniors receive flu vaccines each year. Friends and family members who become ill should refrain from coming into contact with older adults. Should a senior get the flu, healthcare providers may prescribe antiviral medications to ease the symptoms and hasten recovery. 

If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of elderly home care. New Hampshire Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services.

Bacterial Pneumonia

Statistics suggest more than 60 percent of adults aged 65 and over are hospitalized secondary to pneumonia. A common cold, the flu, or another respiratory ailment may quickly lead to a secondary bacterial infection. Seniors with cardiovascular conditions, COPD, diabetes, or conditions that weaken the immune system are more susceptible to secondary infections. Seniors may also not exhibit typical respiratory symptoms. Instead, an older adult might seem unusually confused or show other signs of cognitive impairment. Antibiotics are prescribed to treat bacterial infections, and physicians recommend seniors receive regular pneumococcal vaccinations.

Urinary Tract Infections

The American Academy of Family Physicians reports urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are one of the most common ailments that plague older adults. Seniors who are living with diabetes or using bladder catheters are at greatest risk. Some older adults aren’t able to effectively empty their bladders. Bacteria enter the urinary tract, and the warm, moist environment leads to colonization and infection. While most people with UTIs experience flank pain, the need to urinate frequently, or pain with urination, seniors may simply exhibit confusion or become incontinent. A simple urine test at a healthcare facility can reveal the problem. The older adult will likely receive a prescription for antibiotics and be advised to increase fluid intake.

There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to address if their families opt for professional at-home care. You can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep your loved one safe and comfortable while aging in place.

Gastrointestinal Infections

Changes that occur in the digestive tract secondary to aging increase the risk of different types of gastrointestinal infections. Seniors with Helicobacter pylori infections often develop fever and experience upper abdominal pain. Nausea is commonly followed by vomiting what looks like vegetable beef soup. Helicobacter pylori bacteria have been proven to cause gastric ulcers. Treatment involves a combination of antifungal and antibiotic medications. Clostridium difficile, a type of bacteria that’s common in the environment, causes abdominal discomfort and watery diarrhea. Antibiotics taken for other infections commonly also reduce the amount of healthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, which leads to an overgrowth of C. difficile. Treatment involves antibiotics that specifically eliminate the infection. 

Some seniors only require help with a few daily tasks so they can maintain their independence. However, those living with serious illnesses may need more extensive assistance. Luckily, there is professional live-in care New Hampshire seniors can rely on. Home can be a safer and more comfortable place for your loved one to live with the help of an expertly trained and dedicated live-in caregiver. Trust Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate, professional home care for your loved one. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (603) 471-3004. 

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