Pneumonia Shot – Do you need it?

Pneumonia Shot

Pneumonia is a potential killer to anyone that contacts it.  It is harder on the elderly or youth so shots are advised.  This is not an annual shot though so make sure your doctor knows your immunization record before getting one.

Once again this is copied from the CDC webpage:

Which children and adults need the PPSV23 vaccine?

  • All adults 65 years of age and older.
  • Anyone 2 through 64 years of age who has a long-term health problem such as: heart disease, lung disease, sickle cell disease, diabetes, alcoholism, cirrhosis, leaks of cerebrospinal fluid or cochlear implant.
  • Anyone 2 through 64 years of age who has a disease or condition that lowers the body’s resistance to infection, such as: Hodgkin’s disease; lymphoma or leukemia; kidney failure; multiple myeloma; nephrotic syndrome; HIV infection or AIDS; damaged spleen, or no spleen; organ transplant.
  • Anyone 2 through 64 years of age who is taking a drug or treatment that lowers the body’s resistance to infection, such as: long-term steroids, certain cancer drugs, radiation therapy.
  • Any adult 19 through 64 years of age who is a smoker or has asthma.
  • Residents of nursing homes or long-term care facilities.

Shots are definitely a personal choice but I opted for this one for Mom.  I am not advising anyone to get one but to talk to your medical doctor for advise.

Are there any shots you wouldn’t advise for your elderly family members?


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FLU Shots – Important for both the elderly AND their caregivers.

FLU Shots – A Necessary Evil for Elderly AND Their Caregivers.

I am not a fan of shots, never have been, never will be….BUT shots can prevent a lot of serious problems.  As I am sure you all know, it is flu shot time again.  But there are really three shots you should consider:  Flu, Pneumonia and Shingles. I will cover these in three separate posts.

Remember though it is critical to talk to your medical staff before getting any shot as your situation is unique and they would know best.


It is impossible to determine what the flu will be like from year to year.  The only thing we do know is that flu kills people every year.  Getting a shot gives you the best protection.

The CDC (Center for Disease Control) webpage is full of great information.  Here is a link to what I found helpful about the flu:

The information below is copied from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) webpage.  I think it does an excellent job of explaining the different types of flu and vaccines available.  Make sure you read it carefully and then decided which one is right for you and your loved ones.

Flu Symptoms & Severity

Influenza Symptoms

Influenza (also known as the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

* It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

Flu Complications

Most people who get influenza will recover in a few days to less than two weeks, but some people will develop complications (such as pneumonia) as a result of the flu, some of which can be life-threatening and result in death.

Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus and ear infections are examples of complications from flu. The flu can make chronic health problems worse. For example, people with asthma may experience asthma attacks while they have the flu, and people with chronic congestive heart failure may experience worsening of this condition that is triggered by the flu.

People at Higher Risk from Flu

Anyone can get the flu (even healthy people), and serious problems related to flu can happen at any age, but some people are at higher risk of developing serious flu-related complications if they get sick. This includes people 65 years and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), pregnant women, and young children.

Flu Severity

Flu is unpredictable and how severe it is can vary widely from one season to the next depending on many things, including:

  • what flu viruses are spreading,
  • how much flu vaccine is available,
  • when vaccine is available,
  • how many people get vaccinated, and
  • how well the flu vaccine is matched to flu viruses that are causing illness.

Over a period of 31 seasons between 1976 and 2007, estimates of flu-associated deaths in the United States range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people. During a regular flu season, about 90 percent of deaths occur in people 65 years and older.

Types of Vaccines

What kind of vaccines will be available in the United States for 2013-2014?

There are several flu vaccine options for the 2013-2014 flu season.

Traditional flu vaccines made to protect against three different flu viruses (called “trivalent” vaccines) are available. In addition, this season flu vaccines made to protect against four different flu viruses (called “quadrivalent” vaccines) also are available.

The trivalent flu vaccine protects against two influenza A viruses and an influenza B virus. The following trivalent flu vaccines are available:

The quadrivalent flu vaccine protects against two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses. The following quadrivalent flu vaccines are available:

(*”Healthy” indicates persons who do not have an underlying medical condition that predisposes them to influenza complications.)

CDC does not recommend one flu vaccine over the other. The important thing is to get a flu vaccine every year.

Getting shots are a personal decision but speak to your physician to see if one would be helpful to you.

How hospitals , clinics or health departments can help with elder care

Most hospitals or clinics have social workers that can give you advice, phone numbers, names,  etc.  I did not think that they would help when Mom wasn’t there as a patient. It probably helped that Mom had been a patient there before.   I think it depends on the person you get in touch with sometimes too.

I called our local hospital and talked to a social worker who gave me some ideas and then put me through to their home health nurses.  They were very helpful as to the things I could do to make Mom’s life more comfortable.  They suggested different equipment to help with Mom’s specific needs and even gave me several places to check to get the equipment.

They were very careful not to endorse a specific place or person to go for help but having choices was great.

They also told me everything they could do for Mom.  I assumed it would be very limited but they were able to come out and do Mom’s weekly blood draws and even trim Mom’s toe nails (Mom was on warfarin and bled very easily).  .  They had people that could come help Mom bathe also.  They also told me what they could not do such as house work, feeding, etc but gave me phone numbers to find someone in case I would need them.  They had people that could come help Mom bathe also.

They did explain that some of it would be paid by insurance and some of it would not.  It also depends on what coverage you have.

Health departments also have great information available.  More of their information is geared towards general health care but they usually have a list of helpful  information.  They have information about immunizations also.

Bottom line is you just have to ask.  It is surprising how much help you can get.

Area on Aging

Area On Aging

Our local area on aging is one of 667 Area Agencies on Aging nationwide and one of eight in Nebraska that help ensure older Nebraskans remain independent, healthy and safe in their homes and communities for as long as possible. Authorized by the Older American Act of 1965,

I am sure that there is one in your area.  I looked on the internet to see if there was a central location to search for one but the only information that I found that was nationwide is: or   Both of these have places where you can search for one in your area.  Otherwise, you could search for “area on aging in ****” with the **** being your town and state.

Today’s older adults are looking forward to longer, more active lives. To help them accomplish this, most Area on Aging can coordinate services for people ages 60 and older to maintain the independence they desire. Most of the services are provided at a no cost basis, but a voluntary contribution is requested to help defer the total cost of provision.

Here is a listing of what ours does so that you have an idea of what information you might find from yours.

In-Home Services – Services where people come to people’s home to help

Center Services – Services offered at our local county service centers

Transportation – Need to get to an appointment – We’re here to assist you.

Caregiver Support Services – Helping families provide their loved ones with appropriate care.

Care Management – Details on our friendly faces that will help you.

Health and Nutrition – Living and eating for a long healthy life.

SMP Program – Understand, identify and prevent healthcare fraud

Ombudsman – An advocate for the rights and well-being of nursing home and assisted-living facility residents

Once a year they help set up volunteers to come out and help people with their Medicare Part D selections.

Check out the Area on Aging in your location. 

There is a lot of help out there that will make your decisions easier.  Don’t be afraid to ask.