Caring for Seniors with Pneumonia
Pneumonia is a very dangerous lung infection that causes more than a million hospitalizations and 50,000 deaths per year. Patients of any age can be impacted by this illness, but seniors are more susceptible because the immune system weakens with age and there are often other health complications present.
Caring for a senior with pneumonia can be stressful and overwhelming. The caregivers from Gentle Shepherd Home Care can help. We provide in-home senior care for patients across Denver, Castle Rock, Colorado Springs, and surrounding areas.
Below are a few tips to help you care for your senior loved one when they have pneumonia.
5 Tips to Consider When Caring for Seniors with Pneumonia
Caring for patients with pneumonia, especially seniors, can be a major task. However, there are a few things to consider that can make it easier.
First of all, it’s important to understand the common symptoms of pneumonia including cough, fever/chills, shortness of breath, confusion, chest pain, and fatigue. Many times, these symptoms are subtle in older adults, which makes it more difficult to diagnose the illness. Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to their symptoms and track how they progress. If they worsen, seek medical attention.
Follow instructions from medical providers
Pneumonia can have a variety of causes and, depending on the cause and severity, there are different treatment options. The best way to increase the chances of a positive outcome is to follow the physician’s instructions and avoid skipping doses or stopping treatment without consulting the doctor.
Ensure they stay hydrated and nourished
Pneumonia can cause gastrointestinal issues, fever, loss of appetite, and more, which can lead to dehydration and malnutrition, especially in seniors. These issues can worsen illness and delay recovery. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that your loved one stays hydrated and nourished.
Help them rest and breathe easier
Pneumonia can cause tiredness and weakness. Rest can help conserve energy, which can promote healing. However, it’s important to note that rest does not mean lying in bed all day. Excessive bed rest can lead to bedsores, blood clots, muscle loss, and more. You should encourage them to balance rest with some mild physical activity.
Prevent the spread of infection
Pneumonia is highly contagious and can be spread through the air or through contact with surrounding surfaces. Additionally, it can lead to serious complications including respiratory failure, organ damage, sepsis, and more. Therefore, it is critical to make sure that you are washing your hands frequently to avoid spreading the infection as well as avoid exposing your loved one to complications.
Gentle Shepherd Home Care Can Help
We understand that caring for a senior loved one with pneumonia can be a significant undertaking. The good news is, there are support groups and other resources available that can help you cope. If you need help, the caregivers at Gentle Shepherd Home Care can help. We offer a variety of in-home senior care services.
As a caregiver, your health and well-being are important too. Make sure that you are taking care of yourself so that you can continue to care for your loved one. If you need a break, ask about our respite care services.