It’s not just children who need to get vaccinated for devastating diseases like pneumonia, shingles, and whooping cough. A report in The Wall Street Journal that says a new push aimed at immunizing adults could be a vital reason for seniors to have in-home health aides to help them.
Caregivers already serve as another set of eyes and ears at medical appointments, to help listen to the doctor’s diagnosis, treatment plans, and more. Some seniors get worried or confused in this highly stressful setting and having a caregiver along helps whenever relatives can’t be there. This situation is especially true for vaccinations.
And as medical officials make an increased effort to improve the immunization status of the aging baby-boom population, caregivers can help by driving seniors to and from those appointments.
Experts say unvaccinated adults may not realize that not only are they at risk themselves, but they also pose a risk of passing diseases on to the young, the frail and the elderly.
Only one in four adults over 60, the age at which the shot is recommended, have received the vaccine for shingles. The same virus that causes chickenpox can remain dormant in the body for years and reactivate to cause the painful, blistering condition. About one in three Americans will develop shingles, also known as zoster, in their lifetime, and it can recur. Moreover, it can cause serious complications in the eye which may last for years and interfere with the quality of life.
For the first time, the Centers for Disease Control recommends adults over 65 get two different vaccines—PCV13 and PPSV23—to protect against pneumonia and related infections, because each protects against different types of bacteria.
That’s two more reasons caregivers are a smart addition to senior life, making sure each patient gets to the doctor, making sure they get all their shots and bringing them back home safely.