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How to Help Your Aging Parent Prepare for Flu Season

Flu season generally begins in October and lasts until the end of February. During this time, seniors are susceptible to various illnesses. The risk of becoming seriously ill rises if they have a cardiovascular disease, metabolic or neurological disorder, or respiratory disease. Here are a few ways family members can help their senior loved ones prepare for flu season.

Ensure Proper Vaccinations

Healthcare providers strongly recommend older adults receive a flu vaccination in the fall. The serums used to inoculate against the flu come in regular and high-dose versions. Seniors are advised to get the high-dose version, which provides more protection. The vaccinations contain three strains of the dead virus. Once the immune system comes in contact with the serum, the body works to build a defense system. However, full immunity doesn’t take place until two weeks after receiving the injection. Your loved one should also get the pneumonia vaccination. Even the common cold can progress into a serious illness. Make sure your parent is up to date on other vaccinations. Additional recommended inoculations include the shingles vaccination and a tetanus booster.

Getting the necessary vaccinations is just one of the many ways older adults can boost their health. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional elder care. Tucson, AZ, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Encourage Handwashing

Caregivers and seniors should wash their hands throughout the day. However, the act becomes especially important during flu season. People might have the flu and not exhibit symptoms for one or two days. The virus may lurk on any surface an infected person touches in the home or out in public. Thus, handwashing becomes an important means of protection. While washing, make sure your loved one cleanses the hands, fingernails, wrists, and forearms. Your parent should spend at least 20 seconds washing his or her hands.

Some seniors require assistance with washing their hands and managing other personal hygiene tasks. If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Tucson seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers.

Take Preventive Measures at Home

If anyone in the home contracts the flu, older adults should consider keeping their distance from that person or wear a simple paper mask. All surfaces the infected person might come into contact with must be regularly disinfected, including door knobs, faucet handles, and light switches. Bathrooms and kitchens are the most vulnerable to harboring infection. When the need to cough or sneeze arises, affected individuals must be encouraged to do so in the crease of their arm to minimize the number of germs that become airborne.

Provide Foods That Boost the Immune System

Offer plenty of citrus fruit options, as they’re a great source of vitamin C. Kiwi, papaya, bell peppers, broccoli, and spinach are also rich in vitamin C. Prepare dishes using onions and garlic when possible, as both vegetables naturally have antimicrobial properties. Mushrooms are a good source of zinc, which plays a role in white blood cell development. Bright red-colored fruits and vegetables contain a chemical compound known as lycopene, which offers anti-inflammatory properties.

The flu is not the only health issue older adults are susceptible to. Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Tucson elder care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help. Call one of our professional Care Managers at (520) 276-6555 to schedule a free in-home consultation.