The difference between the immune systems of seniors and younger adults

Seniors are at a susceptible stage of life; they face multiple health concerns such as loss of cognitive and physical function. They need the love and support of their families, which is one reason why senior care in assisted living facilities is so important. Unlike people in their 30s, many seniors are not capable of taking care of themselves anymore. They may have difficulties expressing their preferences, needs and desires, or they could suffer from more serious health conditions.

People in their 30s are perfectly capable of managing a health condition and still look after themselves without compromising the quality of their lifestyle. Young adults are more capable of dealing with autoimmune diseases than seniors. Nowadays, over 80% of senior Americans choose to stay at home, and although living alone after a certain age can be extremely challenging, the elderly rely on their families to care for them. And still, relatives don’t have medical expertise and in case something bad happens they won’t know how to react.  ­­

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The cry off of immune-competence with age

As people age, their immune system becomes more easily compromised.. This decline is also known as immune-senescence and it is characterized by B cell and T cell function decline.  The condition appears in seniors and in advanced stages it can’t always be controlled. In younger patients, autoimmune diseases such as arterisits or polymyalgia rheumatics are almost nonexistent. Yet, studies have shown that with age the prevalence and overall incidence to autoimmunity rises and patients won’t be able to live alone anymore.

Senior care becomes paramount in elderly people dealing with challenging conditions such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. In more serious cases the deterioration of one’s immune system is often associated with other infectious diseases and even cancer. Immune-senescence has also been associated with low-grade, chronic inflammatory activity, which can only mean that seniors need assisted care to lead an almost normal, healthy lifestyle.

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Types of senior care

Senior care comes in a myriad of choices, and that can often be overwhelming for the families. It’s really important for an elderly person to acknowledge that home care does not mean losing independence. Main types of assisted living facilities include:

  • Continuing care retirement communities
  • Congregate housing
  • Nursing homes
  • Hospice care

Each one of the above mentioned facilities serve a purpose. Some of them are particularly meant to deal with patients who are severely affected by incurable diseases (Alzheimer’s, dementia, etc) while others are just meant to ensure that seniors lead a healthy lifestyle.

Hospitals vs. assisted living facilities

Studies have proven that older people whose families put them in hospitals or hospices throughout their twilight years will most likely see their general health deteriorate a lot faster. That’s because hospitals are not providing the right care; they’re rigid and they can make a senior feel lonely. Low quality of life after a certain age is also a main reason seniors get sick faster. That feeling of abandonment can trigger psychological conditions, so that’s why proper senior care is so important.

When selecting an assisted living facility for our parents or grandparents, it is important to opt for a place that can make them feel happy. Companionship matters a lot; it’s our duty to make them feel comfortable, appreciated and valuable. Choosing the best care can’t be easy, especially if you don’t know what suits them and what doesn’t. One thing’s for sure – although seniors can’t manage by themselves and they’re forgetful, they do love nursing homes that can make them feel free.

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Prior to selecting such a facility, perform a thorough research. Asses your loved one’s health condition and consult a professional. A physician will be able to tell you exactly the type of care a senior might need. Over the past few years the mere notion of “hospice” has changed a lot. Older people who choose to live in these places have a lot of activities at their disposal. They get to play games, interact with peers, take massage sessions, and more. Seniors want to feel like they’re being part of a community, so before deciding on an assisted living facility for a parent or relative, look around and make a sensible choice.



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