5 Factors That Make It Easy for Aging Adults to Get Sick

By Patricia Schumacher, 9:00 am on

Seniors may be more likely to get sick than younger people. While advancing age doesn’t necessarily mean your senior loved one will get sick more often, certain factors may raise the risk. The following are five reasons seniors might get sick easily and what you can do to ensure your loved one stays well.

1. Nutritional Deficiencies

As people age, they may be more susceptible to developing nutritional deficiencies. If your loved one fails to consume enough vitamin C–rich foods, a deficiency may develop. Vitamin C is thought to play an important role in immune function, and if your loved one is unable to eat enough citrus fruits or green leafy vegetables, he or she may get sick easily. If your loved one has a poor diet, talk to the doctor about recommending a vitamin C supplement. Once the deficiency is reversed, the immune system will be stronger.

If your loved one has health conditions that make it difficult to prepare nutritious meals, a professional caregiver can be a fantastic asset. Some seniors only require help with a few daily tasks so they can maintain their independence. However, those living with serious illnesses may need more extensive assistance. Luckily, there is professional live-in care Rhode Island seniors can rely on. Home can be a safer and more comfortable place for your loved one to live with the help of an expertly trained and dedicated live-in caregiver.

2. Social Isolation

Older adults can become socially isolated because of illness, limited mobility, or no longer having a large group of friends. Social isolation can cause depression, which may lead to immune suppression and cause your loved one to get sick frequently. If possible, schedule outings with your loved one on a regular basis so he or she can enjoy the company of others. Go out to lunch or dinner together when possible, and ask if joining a senior citizen group would be acceptable. Getting out of the house to socialize every now and then may do wonders for your loved one’s mood and immunity.

3. Nursing Home Living

Nursing home residents often share rooms, and if one of the residents contracts an infection, it may spread to the roommate. Facility residents also share bathrooms and showers, and if those areas aren’t kept meticulously clean, bacteria can be easily be transmitted from one person to another. If you’re concerned about your loved one getting sick while living in a long-term care facility, consider getting him or her a private room if finances allow it. If not, talk to the doctor to learn about interventions that may boost immunity.

4. COPD

Seniors who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, often get frequent bacterial infections of the respiratory tract and experience weakness, fatigue, fever, and loss of appetite. If your loved one has COPD, make sure he or she takes all prescribed medications and follows the doctor’s treatment orders, including those associated with nebulizer treatments and inhalers. Also, encourage drinking plenty of fluids to thin out viscous pulmonary secretions so they can be expelled easily. When mucus isn’t expelled from the lungs, bacteria and fungi proliferate, raising infection risk.

If your loved one needs help remembering to drink plenty of water and take medications, a professional caregiver can be an outstanding source of support. In Rhode Island, senior home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.

5. Cognitive Deficits or Forgetfulness

Cognitive decline or memory loss may prevent your loved one from eating nutritious foods, or he or she may eat foods well beyond their expiration dates. Seniors who have cognitive problems may also forget to take their medications, which can be especially dangerous if they have diabetes, hypertension, or a severe infection. If the physician prescribed antibiotics for an infection of the urinary tract or upper respiratory system and your loved one forgets to take the medication, sepsis or a severe blood infection may develop. If your loved one has cognitive deficits or is forgetful, consider hiring an in-home caregiver or invite your loved one to move into your home, if possible.

The natural effects of aging make seniors more vulnerable to illness, even if they lead a healthy lifestyle. If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of in-home care. Rhode Island Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services. If you need professional home care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (401) 284-0979.