What Are Some Signs of Pneumonia in the Elderly?

The main signs of pneumonia in older people include confusion or delirium, in which their thoughts become obscure, and a worsening lung disease if the lung condition is already present, reports WebMD. Older people with pneumonia often do not have a fever, and they experience few or minor symptoms, such as a dry cough.

Besides moderate symptoms, older people with pneumonia usually experience a temperature that is lower than normal, notes the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Chlamydophila pneumoniae is a mild type of bacterial pneumonia that commonly affects people age 65 to 79.

Most adults suffer pneumonia due to bacteria, states the NHLBI. Older people and disabled individuals are particularly vulnerable to bacterial pneumonia after getting the flu or a common cold. In patients with lobar pneumonia, the affected area is a single area of a lung.

In general, the symptoms of pneumonia include shortness of breath after doing light activities, a phlegmy cough, shaking chills and a high fever, according to the NHLBI. Some people also experience chest pain when breathing or coughing, or they unexpectedly feel worse after having the flu or a cold. While pneumonia typically resolves with medical treatment, high-risk individuals may develop complications, such as bacteremia, in which the infection travels through the bloodstream to other organs, or lung abscesses, in which pus builds up in a lung cavity.