How to Care for Seniors With Pneumonia
Pneumonia is one of the leading causes of death in elderly Americans, and this fast-moving lung disease is responsible for millions of emergency room visits and hospital stays each year. Because the symptoms start out like the common cold or even influenza, it can be tough to diagnose the condition in the elderly. Family caregivers should learn how to spot the symptoms of influenza in their aging loved ones, so they can quickly arrange for medical attention.
Spotting Symptoms of Pneumonia.
Pneumonia is an infection of the air sacs within the lungs. It is usually a result of a sickness like the flu or a cold. When it comes to recognizing the symptoms of pneumonia in aging adults, family caregivers should pay attention if their aging relative starts to show them. Here are the most common symptoms of pneumonia in the elderly:
· Low-grade fever.
· Coughing with phlegm.
· Wheezing and gurgling in the lungs.
· Chest pain.
· Aches in the muscles and joints
Pneumonia symptoms tend to come after the aging adult has already suffered from the common cold or influenza and they just don’t seem to be getting better. It’s easy for family caregivers to simply overlook pneumonia symptoms as just an extended part of these earlier illnesses. However, their aging loved one’s health is at risk of pneumonia symptoms are ignored.
Treatment and Care of Seniors with Pneumonia.
As soon as a doctor diagnoses pneumonia in an aging adult, they prescribe antibiotics to control the infection. In many cases, the doctor wants the senior hospitalized so they can be observed by skilled medical teams until they are in the clear. Depending on their condition, elderly patients are usually given breathing treatments as well as fluids via IVs. If other chronic conditions are affecting their health and strength, doctors will also focus on treating those as well. It’s possible for aging adults to remain in the hospital for more than a week with pneumonia.
When aging relatives are discharged, they will depend a lot on family caregivers and home care providers for long-term recovery. Seniors will need help with bathing, dressing, housekeeping, meal preparation and laundry, just to name a few. As they get their strength back, they can slowly resume the activities they did before pneumonia. Home care providers are a great way to get elderly adults the help they need when family caregivers cannot be there.
Family caregivers and elder care providers can do a lot to help the aging adult recover from a bout of pneumonia, as well as prevent them from getting the illnesses in the future. A clean home, regular hand washing, exercise, and eating nutritious and healthy meals can all help seniors avoid developing this serious illness.
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