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6 Vaccines Seniors Need

By Rick Cohen, 9:00 am on

Approximately 45,000 seniors succumb to preventable diseases every year in the United States because they did not get vaccinated. Seniors often believe vaccinations are unnecessary beyond childhood. However, after many decades of not keeping up with booster shots, an older adult’s immunity usually weakens. Additionally, a senior’s health might already be compromised by other medical conditions. As a result, there is a greater risk of developing complications from infections. Family caregivers should consult a doctor to discuss a vaccination plan for their senior loved ones. 

If you are the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality in-home senior care, Milwaukee Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following vaccines for seniors.

1. Influenza

Doctors recommend annual flu vaccinations for older adults. Seniors with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or respiratory conditions need the added protection that inoculations provide. Annual vaccinations are also necessary to combat the effects of different viral strains that emerge each year. Seniors who have experienced a severe reaction to vaccination or have been diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome may also need other forms of protection. 

2. Pneumonia

Pneumonia causes 60,000 fatalities every year. Due to their compromised immune systems, seniors are at a greater risk of developing the infection following a cold or the flu. After the initial inoculation, your loved one may require a booster shot after five years. 

3. Chickenpox

Seniors who have never had chickenpox should be vaccinated for it. The virus is relatively harmless in children, but it can cause serious complication in seniors. Inform the physician if your loved one is sensitive to gelatin or has a compromised immune system prior to receiving the vaccination. 

Sometimes family caregivers have other commitments that make it difficult to find time to take their loved ones to doctor’s appointments. Aging adults who need help around the house, transportation to medical appointments and social events, and assistance with exercise can benefit from having a live-in home caregiver. Milwaukee seniors can enjoy greater independence and receive regular mental and social stimulation when relying on a trusted professional who is expertly trained in various aspects of senior care.

4. Herpes Zoster

This virus is responsible for causing chickenpox. Even if a senior has had the infection as a child, the chickenpox virus remains dormant in the body and can re-emerge as a painful, blistering condition known as shingles. The herpes zoster vaccination reduces the chance of a viral flare-up by 50 percent. If your loved one develops shingles even though he or she has been vaccinated for it, the symptoms are usually mild. 

5. Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (Tdap)

Pertussis or whooping cough resurfaced globally because proper vaccination was not developed for it. The infectious disease is prevalent in the senior community because of the diminished immunity in this age group. Seniors under 65 should get a Tdap vaccination. Those over 65 should receive the tetanus-diphtheria inoculation and check with their doctor to find out if they need the pertussis component. 

6. Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)

Although these diseases have been effectively eradicated in the United States, they are still common in many other countries. Seniors who enjoy world travel should consider getting an MMR vaccination for proper protection. Statistics indicate approximately 20 million people worldwide develop measles. Countries particularly susceptible to the disease include Angola, Bosnia, Ethiopia, Germany, the Philippines, and Vietnam. The MMR series simply requires one vaccination followed by another one a month later. Older adults must receive the full series at least one month before travel. 

Vaccination is important because fighting diseases can be challenging for older adults, especially if they have another serious medical condition like dementia. For trusted and reliable dementia care, Milwaukee families can turn to Home Care Assistance. We are experts in caring for seniors with memory-related conditions, our caregivers are available 24/7, and all of our dementia care programs are backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Call a friendly Care Manager at (414) 964-8000 to learn about the senior care plans we offer.