Pneumonia in Elderly People

Pneumonia in Elderly People: 10 Must-Know Facts

Pneumonia is a respiratory illness that causes inflammation in the alveoli or air sacs in the lungs. The alveoli may fill with fluid or pus, making oxygen transport through the circulation problematic. This may result in breathing difficulties, as well as fever, chills, and other symptoms.

Learn the facts about this potentially fatal respiratory illness and how to prevent pneumonia in the elderly. If you fear your senior loved one has pneumonia, take them to the doctor as soon as possible.

What are the signs and symptoms of pneumonia?

  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Sweating
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Chest ache
  • Sputum that is green, yellow, or red that comes up when coughing
  • Feeling tired
  • Breathing quickly and shallowly
  • Feeling suddenly worse after a recent respiratory ailment (e.g., cold, flu, COVID-19)
  • Confusion or behavioral changes
  • Appetite loss
  • Blue lips or fingernails caused by a decrease in blood oxygen levels

Why Are Older Adults More Susceptible to Pneumonia?


Seniors are just frailer than younger people. Muscular weakness is a prominent indicator of frailty in elders,

Immune System Dysfunction

Because our immune systems weaken as we age, seniors may have a more difficult time combating illnesses like pneumonia.

Age-Related Health Issues

Other chronic medical disorders that raise the chance of acquiring pneumonia in seniors include diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and heart disease. 


Seniors who have just undergone surgery are more vulnerable to pneumonia since their bodies are already working hard to mend.

10 Pneumonia Facts every Caregiver must know:

  1. Pneumonia is an infection of the lung
  2. For US adults, pneumonia is the most common cause of hospital admissions other than women giving birth
  3. Older people have a higher risk of getting pneumonia and are more likely to die from it if they do
  4. Pneumonia is the most common cause of sepsis and septic shock, causing 50% of all episodes.
  5. Vaccines are available for some but not many causes of pneumonia
  6. Pneumonia can develop in patients already in the hospital for other reasons
  7. Being on a ventilator raises an especially high risk for serious pneumonia.
  8. Our changing interactions with the microbial world mean constantly developing new pneumonia risks
  9. While successful pneumonia treatment often leads to full recovery, it can have longer-term consequences.
  10. Pneumonia does not have an effective advocacy strategy.

Treatment for Pneumonia:

Pneumonia treatment includes both healing the infection and avoiding consequences.


These medications are prescribed to patients suffering from bacterial pneumonia.

Cough medication.

This medication may be used to relieve your cough and allow you to relax.

Pain relievers and fever reducers

These can be taken as needed for fever and discomfort. These include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, and others), and acetaminophen (Tylenol, others).


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