Influenza, more commonly known as the flu, is quite serious for the senior in your life. According to the CDC, older adults 65 years and older are at higher risk of developing serious complications from the flu compared with younger, healthy adults. Why? As we age, human immune defenses become weaker. Between about 70 and 85 percent of flu-related deaths have happened in people 65 years and older, and between 50 and 70 percent of flu-related hospitalizations have taken place among people in this age group.
If you are considering hiring home care professionals to help your senior with activities of daily living, rest assured bathing and hygiene falls under the personal assistance category in home care.
A flu vaccine offers the best protection against the flu. It’s not only proven to reduce flu illnesses but also more serious outcomes that can result in hospitalization or death in older adults.
The flu can come on mildly or severely, with symptoms ranging from constant cough and runny nose to fever and sore throat. It’s characterized by chills, muscle cramps, aches, headaches, diarrhea and vomiting. The risk for seniors is even higher, as it can result in more serious complications such as bronchitis, pneumonia, sinus and ear infections, dehydration and even heart failure, according to the National Council for Aging Care.
Read on for tips on how you can keep your senior safe this flu season:
- Make sure your senior gets his or her flu shot.
- Wash hands frequently. Time it to the happy birthday song so you know you’re doing it for long enough.
- 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 aftertouching 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.
- Encourage your senior to avoid touching their eyes, mouth or nose with their hands. Instead, use a tissue.
- Place hand sanitizer bottles on bedside tables and other accessible areas for those times a visit to the bathroom isn’t possible.
- 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 starts showing symptoms of the flu, call their doctor right away.
Contact Divine Living Assistance
The caregivers here at Divine Living Assistance will do all they can to keep your senior safe this flu season, from washing hands frequently to sanitizing surfaces. Contact us to learn more about our services.