Pneumonia Risk Management and Prevention

Although older adults are at higher risk for pneumonia and complications, there are several easy means of prevention.

Helpful Highlights

  • Older adults (age 65 and older, especially 80 and older) are a high-risk group for pneumonia.

  • There are many, many simple ways to reduce risk and prevent pneumonia.

  • Regular hand washing and quitting smoking are the best first steps.

Everything you need is all in one place

Helpful app simplifies family caregiving by combining your loved one’s insurance benefits and medical records into one user-friendly platform while enhancing your caregiving skills

Get started for free
Preview of Helpful app

High-risk groups

Anyone can get pneumonia. However, the following groups are at the highest risk of contracting pneumonia or experiencing complications:

  • Adults ages 65 and older (especially 80 and older) and children younger than 5.

    • Especially older adults living in communal settings (large or multiple-family households, assisted living facilities)

  • People who have chronic medical conditions, like diabetes or heart or lung disease.

  • People with weakened immune systems (cancer, transplant, autoimmune).

  • Smokers.

Risk management and prevention

Lowering the risk

  • Annual flu shot

  • Pneumonia vaccination

  • Have a provider check any suspected complications with swallowing (aspiration can cause pneumonia)

  • Control existing medical conditions (especially heart or lung disease and diabetes)

  • Get testing for symptoms (influenza A & B, COVID-19)

  • Regular hand washing

Further lowering the risk

  • Eat healthy foods (a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, high fiber)

  • Drink lots of fluids (clear liquids are best)

  • Limit alcohol intake*

  • Quit smoking

  • Get adequate rest (7-9 hours) at night

  • Stay active

  • Wash hands regularly

*National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism - people older than age 65, who are healthy and don't take medications, no more than seven drinks a week. American Diabetes Association - one drink or less a day for women, or two drinks or less a day for men.

Even more to lower the risk

  • Regularly clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces (door knobs, all handles, countertops).

  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of the elbow.

Cough into Elbow

  • Quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke. Smoking damages the lungs and makes infection more likely.

  • Stay away from others when sick.

  • Stay away from others who are sick (like grandchildren).

  • Avoid close contact and sharing items with others if either is sick.

About us

Helpful is an app to make caregiving easier. We integrate your loved one’s insurance benefits, medical records and caregiving guides into an immediate, accessible and user-friendly experience. Helpful supports your care needs by eliminating administrative tasks and providing technology to support your caregiving experience.

Get started for free
Older man is smiling at his relative caregiver