With flu season approaching, it's important to remember that one of the best ways that seniors can stay healthy is to make sure they are vaccinated against common, preventable diseases.
Research shows that a number of older adults in the United States aren’t getting the vaccines they need to help reduce their risk of serious illnesses, putting them at higher risk of becoming infected.
When we age, we become much more susceptible to serious illnesses and infections due to a weakened immune system. Many of these diseases can take their toll on younger adults, but the setback is often temporary. For seniors, the health problems and complications that arise from these illnesses can be life-threatening.
For example, respiratory diseases, such as pneumonia and influenza, are the eighth leading cause of death among the older population. Seniors with chronic diseases and health conditions are more likely to suffer complications.
Diabetics, for example, are three times more likely to die from a bout with the flu than a healthy adult. The risk of getting either of these can be reduced with flu vaccinations and other immunizations.
Vaccines singlehandedly represent the best form of risk reduction for some diseases and can help diminish symptoms for those who do come down with the respective illness. Immunizations for vaccine-preventable diseases can make a significant difference in a senior’s physical well-being. Seniors should discuss their immunization needs with their healthcare team to ensure that they are up-to-date on their vaccinations.
Commonly recommended vaccinations:
- Influenza vaccine (also known as the flu vaccine or flu shot)
- Shingles vaccine (protects against shingles also known as herpes zoster, which is caused by the same virus responsible for varicella/chickenpox)
- Tdap vaccine (protects against diphtheria and pertussis, also known as "whooping cough")
- Pneumococcal vaccine (protects against pneumococcal disease)
- Hepatitis B (some seniors may also require vaccinations against Hepatitis A as well)
Does Medicare Cover the Cost of Vaccines?
Seniors may not even have to pay any out-of-pocket costs to prevent against these infectious diseases. According to Vaccines.gov:
"Medicare Part B covers vaccines that protect against the flu and pneumococcal disease — and the hepatitis B vaccine if you’re at increased risk for hepatitis B. It also covers vaccines that you might need after an injury (like the tetanus vaccine) or coming into contact with a disease (like the rabies vaccine).
Medicare Part D plans generally cover more vaccines than Part B. But depending on your Medicare Part D plan, you may have out-of-pocket costs for these vaccines."
Comfort Keepers® Floral Park Can Help
Maintaining senior health and well-being is a priority for the team at Comfort Keepers® Floral Park. Our in-home caregivers can help with providing seniors with transportation assistance to and from the doctor’s office or clinics to receive their vaccinations. In addition, caregivers can also work to promote a healthy lifestyle by supporting physician-recommended diet and exercise plans, as well as medication reminders. Contact us today at (516) 328-7100 to learn more about our services for older adults.