Are you worried about your aging relative getting the flu this year? You are right to worry about influenza’s impact on your elderly loved one, because many seniors suffer the harmful effects of this illness each year. In fact, influenza and its effects are responsible for hundreds of thousands of hospital visits for elderly adults throughout the country. Influenza-related complications can even cause death in some cases.
If you want to prevent your aging relative from contracting the flu this year, there are many things that you, family members, and home care providers can do to reduce the risk. Here are 7 ways to reduce your aging relative’s risk of influenza:
1. Flu Vaccine.
Doctors recommend that every elderly adult get a flu shot in the fall to help their immune system prepare to defeat any viruses they encounter. While average adults only need one standard flu shot, seniors should get a series of two shots designed to work better with their aging bodies.
2. Wash Hands Well and Often.
To many family caregivers and home care providers, washing hands while taking care of an elderly adult is very common. During flu season, it’s especially important for everyone, including the aging adult, to do so. Proper hand washing includes warm water and soap, with vigorous scrubbing for at least 20 seconds.
3. Avoid the Face.
The influenza virus is very contagious and can be spread by touching an infected surface and then the eyes, nose, or mouth. Family caregivers and home care providers should encourage the aging adult to avoid touching their face without washing their hands.
4. Disinfect the Home.
Keep the environment as sterilized as possible by wiping down surfaces with disinfectant. Frequently touched areas like light switches, countertops, faucets, and refrigerator handles need wiped down regularly with a germ-killing solution.
5. Sanitize Germy Items.
You’d be surprised how many household items are ideal for spreading germs. Sanitize commonly touched items like remote controls, mobile devices, telephones, and similar frequently held objects.
6. Eat Right and Exercise.
Boosting the immune system is a good way to reduce the risk of influenza. Well-balanced meals deliver nutrients to the body, making it more robust and healthy. Exercise and activity also helps keep the body strong and resilient. Even seniors who aren’t very mobile can engage in activity, such as tai chi, walks, chair aerobics, stretching and more.
7. Avoid Exposure Where Possible.
During flu season, family caregivers and home care providers should encourage elderly adults to avoid large crowds and frequent travel. They should also steer clear of those who are already sick. It’s much more difficult to catch the flu when seniors are not exposed to those who are carrying the virus.
When you and the home care provider work hard to coordinate efforts on protecting the aging adult from the flu virus, you’ll have a much greater chance of success.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Bellaire, TX, contact the caring staff at Personal Caregiving Services at 832-564-0338. Providing Care in Houston, Bellaire, West University Place, Katy, and Sugar Land and the surrounding areas.
In 1989 after selling his family owned food service business, Mr. Gerber pursued his compassion for the elderly by completing his geriatric education and training requirements to be a licensed nursing home administrator (LNFA) from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.Previously he received his undergraduate business degree from the University of Texas at Austin and his Masters in business administration (MBA) from the University of Houston.In 2003, Mr. Gerber earned his Certification to be a Senior Advisor (CSA).
Sid Gerber is a Google Verified Author
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