Update on Coronavirus / COVID-19 and senior safety, click here for more information.

5 Flu & Pneumonia Prevention Strategies for Seniors

By , 9:00 am on


Adults over the age of 65 have a greater risk of complications from the flu and pneumonia. Up to 70 percent of hospitalizations related to seasonal illnesses involve older adults. Influenza and pneumonia also cause up to 85 percent of seasonal illness fatalities each year. There are a variety of preventative measures seniors need to take to avoid becoming ill and reduce the risk of complications.

1. Get Vaccinated

Flu shots become available every year shortly before the season begins. However, the serum must be in the body for a minimum of two weeks before it becomes effective. Thus, seniors need to become inoculated well in advance of flu season in their regions. For optimal protection, a senior must receive a high-dose serum or an adjuvant vaccine, which is more effective at building the immune system.

Seniors are also more susceptible to developing pneumonia after contracting colds or the flu. Thus, they need the PCV13 and the PPSV23 pneumonia vaccinations. The PCV13 may be repeated after five to 10 years. The PPSV23 is given once every 12 months after seniors receive the PCV13 inoculation. 

Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional elderly home care. Amarillo, TX, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

2. Wash Hands Frequently

Exposure to the bacteria and viruses that cause respiratory illness may occur by touching inanimate objects harboring the microorganisms. Therefore, handwashing remains vitally important, especially before preparing meals and eating. Seniors should use warm soapy water to clean their hands thoroughly for up to 20 seconds, then rinse and towel dry. They might also consider carrying hand sanitizer when leaving the house and using the product throughout the day as needed.

3. Disinfect Surfaces

Any item brought into the home may harbor organisms that cause flu and pneumonia, so any surface that comes in contact with grocery bags, boxes, or other items should be cleansed and disinfected once the items are stored. If anyone enters the home and exhibits symptoms of a cold or other seasonal illness, doorknobs, countertops, glasses, dinnerware, and any other surfaces the person contacted must be cleansed and disinfected.

4. Boost the Immune System

By building up the immune system before seasonal illness strikes, seniors are less likely to become ill. They’re also better able to fight sickness. The regimen required for building a healthier immune system includes getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Older adults must also engage in some form of physical activity for 30 minutes three times each week. Daily meals must consist of lean meats and plenty of produce. Sweets and fat-laden foods should be kept to a minimum. 

A home caregiver can help your loved one prepare nutritious meals and get regular exercise. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of elder care. You can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.

5. Stay Away from Crowds

Airborne illnesses spread quickly in large indoor spaces. As such, seniors need to avoid visiting public locations known to have large crowds. Instead, they should consider doing grocery or personal shopping during less busy hours. Aging adults should also use hand sanitizer and wear masks when out in public during cold and flu season.

Preventing illnesses such as the flu and pneumonia is important because they can lead to more significant health issues. Living with serious health conditions can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Amarillo seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more. For compassionate, reliable in-home care, trust the experienced professionals from Home Care Assistance. Reach out to one of our dedicated Care Managers today at (806) 803-9991 to learn about the high quality of our in-home care services.