What immunizations should seniors discuss with their doctors?

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 What Immunizations Should Seniors be Discussing with their Doctors?

Vaccines are a marvel of modern medicine, created to prevent a range of diseases that can be deadly. 

Therefore, it’s surprising to know just how many older adults have fallen behind on their vaccinations.

If you’re over the age of 65, you may need boosters for many of your vaccines.

August is National Immunizations Month. It’s a good time to talk to your doctor about getting current on your vaccinations. From shingles to diphtheria, there are a number of vaccine-preventable diseases of which you should be aware. 

A Guide to Essential Vaccines for Seniors

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), people over the age of 65 should always be up-to-date on the following:

1. Seasonal Flu (Influenza) Vaccine

It’s been decades now that doctors have been telling seniors that they’re at greater risk for complications from the flu than younger adults. As you age, your immune system weakens, leaving you more vulnerable to conditions arising from getting the flu.

Each year, seniors are overwhelmingly represented in the statistics for flu-related hospitalizations and deaths. Seniors who believe that the flu vaccine is dangerous should be aware that the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention both recommend that seniors stay up-to-date with their flu vaccines. It is the best-known way to prevent influenza.

2. Td or Tdap Vaccine

The Td booster vaccine protects against tetanus and diphtheria. The Tdap vaccine protects against those diseases plus pertussis, which is ‘whooping cough’. All three bacterial diseases are potentially life-threatening.

Diphtheria can cause breathing problems, which arise from the thick covering that develops in the back of the throat as a result of the disease. Tetanus causes ‘lockjaw’, which leads to death in about 20 percent of cases.  Pertussis causes severe bouts of coughing that can last for weeks and may lead to seizures, brain damage, and death.

3. Pneumococcal Vaccines

Pneumococcal disease is really an infection. It’s caused by bacteria and can cause pneumonia, bacterial meningitis, a blood infection, or a middle-ear infection. It affects both the very young and the very old. The only known way to prevent this disease is vaccination.

Older adults are at higher risk of Pneumococcal disease than any other age group.

4. Zoster Vaccine

The Zoster vaccine protects against a common disease for older adults: shingles. You may already know someone who’s had shingles. It is extremely painful and symptoms include a blistering rash. The Zoster vaccine won’t fully protect you but it will cut your risk of getting shingles in half. If you do develop shingles, the vaccine may make your case less severe.

A Designated Care Manager Can Help

If you’re preparing to talk to your doctor about getting current with your vaccinations, it’s nice to have someone to help. At Sunrise Senior Living communities, every resident has a Designated Care Manager (DCM). They are trained caregivers who provide a helping hand with just about every aspect of daily living.

They’re also active in creating and maintaining each resident’s Individualized Service Plan (ISP), so talking to your DCM about vaccines is a good way to incorporate this issue into your healthcare regimen.

Would you like to meet a Sunrise DCM? Schedule a visit to Sunrise community near you today!