You can hardly turn the news on right now without hearing a story on the seriousness of the flu epidemic this year. Sadly, there have been numerous deaths and many more hospitalizations. Older adults are among those at highest risk for serious complications due to the flu. This is especially true for seniors who have other conditions, such as heart problems or diabetes.
If you’re concerned about your aging relative contracting the flu this year, there are many ways a home care provider can help them to avoid it.
“Take 3” to Fight the Flu
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends taking an approach to the flu that they call “Take 3.” Take 3 involves:
Get a Flu Vaccine: The CDC recommends that all people over the age of 6 months, especially people who are in a high-risk group, get an annual flu shot. The flu shot is not a guarantee that a person will not get the flu, but it does reduce their risk. A home care provider can drive your aging relative to get their flu vaccine or remind them of an appointment.
Take Preventative Actions: Washing hands often and keeping surfaces disinfected are both ways to help stop the spread of germs. Also, older adults should stay away from people who are ill or have flu symptoms. Home care providers can remind older adults to wash their hands and can assist with cleaning the house.
Follow the Doctor’s Advice: If your aging family member does get the flu, it’s important that they follow the doctor’s advice to treat it. If the doctor provides antiviral medications, the older adult must take them. They can ease flu symptoms and make the illness last for a shorter period of time. Home care providers can remind older adults to take their medication.
When a senior gets the flu, home care can assist them while they recover. A home care provider can make sure the older adult is getting enough fluids to prevent dehydration. Warm drinks like tea and cocoa can help soothe the sore throat that sometimes comes with the flu. Home care providers can also ensure that the senior gets plenty of rest by fielding phone calls, answering the door if visitors arrive, and taking care of household duties so the senior does not have to. Finally, if the older adult needs to go to the doctor for a follow-up appointment, a home care provider can drive them to the office.