Will I Recognize Pneumonia In My Aging Loved One?
— February 21st, 2019
Case Study: Yejun didn’t know how to help her aging mother with her cold. She was coughing up phlegm, wheezing and battling a low-grade fever, but Yejun thought it would get better with rest, soup and over-the-counter medicine. When Yejun’s mother turned pale and struggled for breath in the night, she knew something was very wrong and took her to the hospital. After being admitted for pneumonia and receiving breathing treatments and antibiotics, Yejun’s mother seemed to be doing better. The hospital staff told Yejun that they have arrived just in time.
In this case study, family caregivers did not recognize the symptoms of pneumonia in their aging relative, risking their overall health and even their lives.
Unfortunately, many family caregivers are unaware of the serious threat that is pneumonia and how it can impact their loved one’s health and wellness.
Pneumonia is a serious lung infection that sends millions to the hospital each year and is one of the leading causes of death in aging Americans. It is the result of a virus or bacteria settling into the lungs and causing an infection. The air sacs become inflamed and fill with fluid, reducing capacity and limited oxygen intake. When oxygen cannot get to the bloodstream, vital organs become starved for it and endure damage. Without treatment, pneumonia can cause death, especially in the elderly.
The symptoms of pneumonia often resemble other illnesses, such as bronchitis, the common cold, influenza, and even allergies.
Family caregivers must be able to tell the difference between them so they know whether to treat at home or head to the doctor. In most cases of senior illnesses, it’s usually a good idea to go to the doctor for a diagnosis and they can help family caregivers navigate a treatment.
Family caregivers that depend on others to care for their aging loved ones, such as family members, friends, and home care providers, should also monitor any symptoms that are reported. Pneumonia symptoms include coughing, phlegm, fatigue, fever, chills, wheezing and dizziness. By connecting the dots and consulting with others, they may be able to recognize health issues sooner rather than later.
At the doctor appointment, the senior will usually have a chest x-ray and a thorough examination to diagnose pneumonia.
The doctor will prescribe strong antibiotics or antiviral medicine to get the infection under control. Secondary symptoms like fever and pain are also treated. Many times, doctors will recommend a hospital stay so that staff can monitor the aging adult with pneumonia. Other treatments include breathing or nebulizer treatments, IV fluids and sometimes intubation to help with breathing.
Family caregivers owe it to their aging loved ones to get familiar with pneumonia and its symptoms, so they can act quickly and get help as soon as possible. It’s the only way that seniors can avoid the severe and even fatal results of contracting pneumonia.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Elderly Care in Richmond Hill, please contact the caring staff at Geri Health Home Care today. Call us at 416-431-6266. Serving Greater Toronto Area, Markham, Richmond Hill, and Vaughan.