As a man that has historically driven older/used cars, I understand the importance of regularly scheduled maintenance. When I follow the owners manual outlines – rotating tires, tune-up, oil change refilling fluids etc. my car runs great. On the flip side, when I neglect my car and forget to do regular maintenance I will without a shadow of a doubt have some sort of car issue. I have had to learn my lesson the hard way, and have had numerous car breakdowns. In college, I had a roommate that didn’t change his oil in his pickup truck for an entire year. Shortly after the year mark, he lost his transmission and had to buy a new car.
As humans, we are designed to have regular maintenance as well. When we do not exercise, eat healthy food and visit doctors regularly we break down. What can we do to have better maintenance on our bodies? If you care for a senior at home, what can you do to make sure their body and health is maintained?
One important regularly scheduled practice you or an elder senior should include is immunization. August is National Immunization Awareness Month. With that in mind, it is important to understand what vaccines you have been given throughout your lifetime. Ask your primary care physician which ones are right for you. Vaccines recommended for older adults can prevent:
- Influenza (Flu)
- Phneumococcal (Pneumonia)
- Shingles (Herpes Zoster)
- Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
As a child, I remember living an active lifestyle. Growing up, I played on several competitive soccer teams. Between soccer practice and playing with friends I was running anywhere between 7-10 miles a day. In my childhood I had the energy to run and keep running for endless amounts of time – without stretching. Sometime around college my body gave me a backhand for all the years of abuse I put it through. No longer could I run down the street without feeling it in my hamstrings the next day. My days of all fun and no stretching are over.
As we age and our bodies transform. It is important to understand what we need to do to keep it safe and in working order. I don’t want the aches and pains the following morning because I didn’t stretch. Aging takes a toll on our bodies, and as we age our bodies are not as well equipped to fight off disease.
If you are over the age of 65 or care for an aging adult, vaccines can be a strong line of defense that protects you against complications that could land you or your loved one in the hospital. Senior adults are at a higher risk at catching diseases like the flu and pneumonia. The National Vaccine Program has a great write-up on disease prevention through vaccination, as well as a recommended immunization schedule for seniors over the age of 65.
Before considering any type of immunization or vaccine shots, be sure to speak you’re your primary care physician. Each year thousands of adults in the United States die from diseases that they could have been vaccinated against. Don’t put yourself or your loved one at risk unnecessarily. Take the necessary precautions to make sure you or your loved one is vaccinated.