Published: Jul 17, 2017
Why are Immunizations Important?
Protection against serious infectious diseases is not just for children or infants. In many ways, immunization is more vital as we age. Not only are we increasingly susceptible to illnesses and diseases as we get older, but also, the vaccines we had as children can begin to lose their effectiveness.
Because of this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly encourage older adults to be immunized in order to help reduce the risk of getting (and spreading) serious, often life-threatening disease. Frequency of immunization depends on the disease and the individual – and will be explored in further detail below.
How Do They Work?
Vaccines are the products that help produce immunization (protection from a disease), and contain dead or weakened antigens of a certain disease. They are, in essence, imitations of their real counterparts and do not cause any of the associated symptoms. Once the vaccine is administered (typically through injection), the immune system produces antibodies to fight off potential infection. After these antigens have been fully eliminated and the antibodies have broken down, what’s left are memory cells.
Should the body encounter similar antigens in the future, these memory cells will then produce antibodies quickly and effectively, before the antigens have a chance to spread. Thus, the body does not necessarily become “immune” in the way that we often think, but rather, through vaccination, our antibodies have the training needed to vanquish otherwise threatening antigens.
Vaccines for Older Adults
The topic of immunization should be something that older adults discuss with their physicians in detail. More than likely, they will recommend vaccines for influenza, pneumococcal disease, shingles, and tetanus-diphtheria. Below you will find details for each vaccination:
As mentioned, it’s vital that your senior loved ones discuss vaccinations with their medical professional team to understand which are necessary. They are planning to travel to another country, they should also check with their doctor and local health department to check required vaccines. Most importantly, it’s recommended that your loved ones keep detailed records of the shots they’ve received, which should include date of vaccination and any of the side effects experienced.
Comfort Keepers® Can Help
At Comfort Keepers®, our highly trained caregivers can work with your loved ones to promote a healthy lifestyle and even transport them to any scheduled medical appointments. Contact your local Comfort Keepers office today for additional information.
National Institute of Health. “Bound for your Good Health: A Collection of Age Pages.” Print. 2005.
John Muir Health. “Senior Immunizations.” Web. 2017.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Vaccines and Immunizations.” Web. 2017.
Aging Care. “Recommended Vaccines for the Elderly” by Anne-Marie Botek. Web. 2017.