How Does the Immune System Change with Age?

Aging changes the body in many ways. There are obvious, external changes, like graying or thinning hair and wrinkles. However, there are also many changes that we cannot see. One of the changes that occurs is in the immune system. Understanding what changes and how you can help your aging relative to strengthen their immune system can allow you to assist them in staying healthier.

What Changes?

There are two kinds of immunity. They are:
Innate Immunity: Innate immunity is the kind of immunity that kicks in to fight infections.
Adaptive Immunity: Adaptive immunity remembers certain kinds of germs the body has encountered before and attacks them.

As the body ages, innate immunity may not fall back after it takes care of the initial attack. As a result, the body develops chronic inflammation. At the same time, adaptive immunity gets weaker and doesn’t fight viruses, fungi, and bacteria as well as it used to. The combination of these two things means that older adults aren’t able to stave off illnesses the way they could when they were younger, so they catch colds, flus, and other things more easily and more often than young adults do. And, because their immune systems are weaker, they may have worse symptoms and develop complications.

How Can You Help a Senior to Support Their Immune System?

Although it’s normal for a senior to have a weaker immune response, there are still things that can be done to strengthen their immune systems. Some tips for improving an older adult’s immune system are:

Quit Smoking: Smoking is responsible for increasing the risk of developing many kinds of diseases. By encouraging an older adult to quit smoking, you can help them to reduce those risks.

Sleep Well: Studies show that when people sleep 6 or fewer hours per night, they catch colds more often. Seniors should aim for between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night.

Eat More Plant-Based Foods: Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that help to reduce inflammation.

Exercise Regularly: Getting enough exercise helps the body to fight inflammation. Experts say this has to do with an increase in muscle tissue, which produces inflammation-fighting proteins that also help the immune system to work better.

Home care can assist your older family member to boost their immunity.

If the older adult is trying to quit smoking, home care can offer encouragement and distract them when they have an urge to smoke. Home care providers can also prepare healthy meals that include more fruits and vegetables. And, if your aging relative needs to move more, home care can help with that, too. Home care providers can go for walks with seniors, drive them to exercise classes, or just assist them in moving more around the house.

If you or an aging loved-one are considering Caregiver in Wellington, FL, or the surrounding areas, please give us a call at (561) 465-5920


What Are the Benefits of a Family Health Portrait?

Do you know how your grandparents died? How about your great-grandparents? Knowing your family’s health history is important when it comes to risks and early screenings. Despite the importance, few people can go back generations and state whether family members had certain diseases.

A family health portrait helps solidify this information. It may not be as helpful to you as it will your great-grandchildren. The actions you and your mom take now can help future generations.

What Information is Included?

Some health conditions can be easier to treat if they’re caught early. A colonoscopy before the age of 50 might be important if colorectal cancer has affected several generations. The same is true of breast cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Things that should be included in a family health portrait are incidences of cancer, dementia, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. You also should know things like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and mental illness. If there are genetic health conditions, record those too.

Hemochromatosis is a genetic condition where the body stores too much iron. It leads to liver damage and other health issues. It’s also commonly found in entire families. If you learn a grandmother had it, it’s likely her brothers and sisters and even children also had it. Drawing blood to reduce iron levels is key to preventing liver damage. Knowing it’s a possible health issue is important.

How Far Back Should You Go?

The Surgeon General has a convenient online form you can fill out for as many generations as possible. In the Family Health History form, you’ll enter health conditions and disease for each person and add the age of diagnosis if you know it.

Be as thorough as you can. Decades from now, medical advancements may have made advanced testing for some medical conditions possible. Those generations would benefit if they knew their great-great-great-grandparents had that disease.

You may want to talk to your mom and dad to see what they know. If you still have living grandparents, they could be of help, too. Even if you don’t know the exact ages or details, basic information is better than no information at all.

Keep this family medical history on hand for anyone who cares for your parents. If your dad has a stroke, it will be helpful if his medical POA or caregivers know if he’s had surgery or is allergic to any medications or substances. With the family medical history stored on a phone, it makes it easy for the POA and any caregivers to pull up information in a stressful time and make sure doctors are aware.

If you or an aging loved-one is considering Home Care in Wellington, FL, please contact the caring staff at MAZALTOV HOME CARE, LLC today at. (561) 465-5920

(561) 465-5920