Flu Season is Here: How to Keep Your Senior Safe
People 65 years and older are at higher risk of developing serious complications from the flu compared with younger, healthy adults, says the CDC. This is because human immune defenses become weaker as we age. Between about 70 and 85 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older, and between 50 and 70 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations have occurred among people in this age group. Translation: influenza is quite serious for the senior in your life.
A flu vaccine is the best protection against the flu, proven to reduce flu illnesses and more serious outcomes that can result in hospitalization or death in older people. If you care for your senior loved one at home, you will want to give this a priority this winter, taking the proper steps to ensure your loved one remains healthy all season long. Senior home care services will also do their part to reduce the spread of germs and the likelihood of your loved one contracting the flu.
From constant cough and runny nose to fever and sore throat, the flu can come on mildly or severely. It’s marked by chills, muscle cramps, aches, headaches, diarrhea and vomiting. The risk for seniors is compounded, as it can result in more serious complications such as bronchitis, pneumonia, sinus and ear infections, dehydration and even heart failure, says the National Council for Aging Care.
Here’s how you can keep your senior safe this flu season:
- Disinfect surfaces: This is something that both you and the at home care professionals can both help with. Routinely sanitize countertops, door knobs, cabinets, phones, and remote controls with disinfectant cleaners.
- Ask visitors to wash their hands upon entering the home.
- Clean hands after touching dirty clothes and before handling clean clothes.
- Avoid touching trash, especially tissues. Wash your hands afterward anyway.
- Cover the nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing with tissue or the crook of the elbow.
- Wash hands frequently. Time it to the happy birthday song so you can ensure you’re doing it for long enough.
- Encourage your senior to avoid touching their eyes, mouth or nose with their hands. Instead, they should use a tissue.
- Place hand sanitizer bottles on bedside tables and other accessible areas for those times a visit to the bathroom isn’t feasible.
- Make sure your senior gets his or her flu shot.
- Advise people not to visit if they are showing symptoms of illness.
- Limit exposure to large group situations.
- Avoid close contact with others if you have to bring your loved one out of the home.
- If your loved one displays symptoms of the flu, call their doctor right away.
Contact Preferred HealthStaff
Senior care services can fill in the gaps and assist you in ensuring your senior loved one remains in a safe, healthy environment for the duration of flu season. To learn more about our senior home care services, please contact us at 866-943-9791.