The main idea behind non-medical home care for seniors, also known as in-home care, is to enable these noble citizens to age in place safely. To achieve this initiative, all factors that could otherwise lead to the hospitalization or institutionalization of these citizens, such as infections, sicknesses, fall hazards, and others must be managed effectively or eradicated completely if possible.
The flu and its complications is by far one of the biggest contributors for hospital admissions and re-admissions in seniors. As we age, a weaker immune system tends to occur naturally, and as everyone knows, fighting off a virus when immunity is not so strong can be an uphill task for the body.
“For many of us, the flu is usually manageable and we end up recovering fully in about a week or so. Unfortunately, this cannot be said for our older counterparts. For seniors, the flu can have adverse effects on their health, some of which can even leave them fighting for their lives,” says Astin Home Care Agency owner and Administrator, Coach Michele Ellis-Williams.
“Not to worry though because there are precautions that can easily be taken by seniors to prevent them from picking up the flu and other viral infections. In the same way, there’s always something that can be done to ensure that the flu doesn’t progress to something more serious for those who have already been infected,” continues Coach Michele.
The Flu Season is here with us!
While the viruses of influenza are known to circulate all year round, in the United States, flu activity tends to peak between early December and late May. So, how do you know you or a loved one has contracted the flu?
Flu symptoms in senior citizens don’t vary much with the symptoms experienced by the younger generations, and they can include the following:
- Stuffy/runny nose
- Sore throat
Warning Signs To Look Out For:
- If you observe any or more of the following symptoms in yourself or a loved one with the flu, seek medical attention at once:
- Trouble breathing
- Nausea and vomiting
- High fever
- Shaking chills
- Chest pains
- Coughing up thick mucus that is yellowish-greenish-grayish in color
- Mental confusion
Younger people rarely experience flu complications, unless they have a weak immune system for one reason or another. Unfortunately, up to 85% of flu complications, which can lead to death if not addressed at once, occur in seniors, i.e., individuals who are past the age of 65.
Some of these complications include:
- Severe bronchitis
- Worsening of already present conditions like heart disease, asthma, and emphysema
Managing the Flu Season through Non-Medical Home Care
As already mentioned earlier, it is possible to prevent the flu or prevent an infection from becoming worse for those already infected. Here are few tips for persons aged 65 and above, courtesy of Coach Michele:
- Get a flu shot/vaccination that has specifically been designed for older persons each fall.
- Make sure the primary caregiver has been vaccinated as well.
- Wash your hands with warm, soapy water several times a day.
- Have light switches, telephones, door handles surfaces, TV remotes, and other surfaces disinfected at least twice a day.
- Avoid touching your nose, face, or mouth with your hands.
- Get regular exercise and avoid stress.
- Eat healthy meals.
- Avoid crowds and wear masks whenever you are out in public.
- Carry a hand sanitizer when going out.
- Avoid persons that are already infected until they have recovered fully.
- Seek medical attention as soon as you discover the symptoms of an infection, no matter how mild.
At Astin Home Care Agency, we have senior caregivers who have received specialized training on how to help seniors stay safe and healthy during the flu season. For a free consultation, feel free to reach out to us via the details provided below. We are willing to assist you in any way we can.