Seniors tend to discover they get sick easier and symptoms last longer as they advance in age. While some weakening of the immune system is part of the normal aging process, seniors don’t have to accept getting the sniffles every other week. Instead, they can be proactive by addressing the following common causes of a weakened immune system in older adults.
Strain from Other Health Conditions
Your loved one’s immune system can only do so much. Over time, health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease place stress on the body that further slows down the immune system. If your loved one has known health conditions, help him or her stay on top of the treatment plan. Seniors with health conditions that flare up, such as rheumatoid arthritis, also need to rest more during those times.
If you’re caring for a loved one who has chronic and/or serious health conditions that lead to immunity issues, you don’t have to face the challenges alone. Caring for a senior loved one can be rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming for family caregivers who have other responsibilities they need to focus on. For these families, the perfect solution is respite care. Arvada families rely on our caregivers whenever they need time to rest, work, run errands, and even go on vacation.
Side Effects of Certain Types of Medications
Certain medications are known to lower a person’s immune system, and your loved one is more likely to take one of these to treat health issues that occur with age. For instance, corticosteroids are great for reducing inflammation in people with lupus or arthritis. However, they do affect the immune system and increase the risk of developing fungal infections. Chemotherapy medications are another type that cause immunosuppression. Always let the physician know about any medications your loved one takes so the physician can help you watch for the symptoms of infections your loved one is at risk for developing.
A weakened immune system could put your loved one at higher risk for illnesses such as flu or pneumonia. While recovering at home is possible, it may be challenging, and hiring a professional caregiver to assist with recovery can give you greater peace of mind. Living alone at home in the golden years can present a few unique challenges. Trust Arvada senior home care professionals to help your senior loved one maintain a higher quality of life while he or she manages an illness and performs the daily tasks of living.
Too Much Stress
As anyone who has ever had a cold sore at the worst moment can attest, stress is terrible for the immune system. Seniors who worry about finances or how to take care of the house are more likely to have poor immune systems than those who have solid support networks. Encourage your loved one to talk about the things that bother him or her so you can work together to find solutions to ease the stress. For instance, just having a caregiver visit a few times a week to wash dishes, chop vegetables, and have a friendly chat could raise your loved one’s spirits and immune system functioning.
There’s some truth to the belief that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Like other body systems, the immune system needs nutrients to be able to operate at peak efficiency. Seniors should strive to eat a diet rich in nutrients that help the body produce enough cells to fight off disease.
Unhealthy Lifestyle Habits
Smoking, drinking too much, and being sedentary are all factors that weigh down the immune system, as the immune system must work overtime to rid the body of toxins from tobacco or alcohol. Sitting too much also slows down blood flow through the body, so every cell receives less oxygen. Encourage your loved one to make healthier lifestyle choices that take the burden off the immune system, such as going for a short walk each day.
Because their immune systems don’t function as efficiently as they used to, aging adults are more susceptible to illness. In addition, weakened immunity often causes seniors to experience more severe symptoms with various illnesses, so recovering at home may require assistance. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of in-home care Arvada, CO, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. If your loved one needs professional care, Home Care Assistance is here to help. Call one of our Care Managers today at (720) 642-1600.