Are You Caring for Someone Over 65?
People 65 years of age and older are at greater risk of serious complications from the flu compared with young, healthy adults. The human immune defenses become weaker with age and those over 84 are at great risk of dying from complications from the flu. For the elderly getting the flu often leads to a hospital stay, and sometimes it can be fatal. Older adults account for more than half of hospitalizations due to influenza and over 80 percent of deaths associated with influenza according to William Schaffner, M.D. professor of Preventive Medicine and Infectious Disease at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
"Influenza and its complications disproportionately affect people who are 65 and older. They account for 80% of the deaths..."
- Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University.
Post-Flu Risks are a Growing Concern for the Elderly
Infectious disease experts are warning that flu can lead to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and disability in elderly patients for months after they have recovered from their illness. Watch out for severe symptoms such as confusion, difficulty breathing, or inability to keep hydrated. Anyone with asthma may experience asthma attacks while they have the flu, and people with chronic heart disease may experience a worsening of this condition triggered by flu.
The flu can worsen other chronic conditions including:
While ill, seniors will need support from a caregiver.
Health Force of Georgia can help when you can’t be there to give the extra care needed.
Advice for Families and Caregivers of Seniors with the Flu
While ill, seniors will need support from a caregiver. Health Force of Georgia can help when you can’t be there to give the extra care needed. Health Force of Georgia offers a full range of home care services in the metro Atlanta area.
When everyday tasks such as preparing meals, getting dressed or completing errands becomes a challenge, Health Force of Georgia aids with daily-living support services so loved ones can continue living at home independently while recovering from the flu or other illnesses. We can respond to your private duty care needs encompassing metro Atlanta, GA and 18 surrounding counties. If your loved one needs more in-depth care, Health Force of Georgia provides skilled nursing care by highly trained Registered Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses. Whether aiding recovery from the flu or a long-term chronic illness or even a short-term surgical procedure, our nursing staff stands ready to help patients return to their original well-being. We work closely with third-party insurers, doctors and other healthcare providers to ensure coordination of care. We've been serving families in Atlanta, GA and surrounding counties for 30+ years.
What can you do to prevent the flu?
- Get Your Flu Shot – Dr. Schaffner said the high-dose influenza vaccine is effective in older adults with four times as much vaccine as the normal vaccine.
- Use Good Health Habits - Avoid people who are sick and washing hands often can help prevent the flu.
- Get Medical Help Quickly if You Suspect Flu - You might need to receive treatment with antiviral drugs. CDC recommends that antiviral drugs be used as early as possible to treat flu in people who are very sick with flu (for example, people who are in the hospital), and people who are sick with flu and have a greater chance of getting serious flu complications, like people 65 and older. The treatment should be started within the first 2 days of illness for best results.
- If You Are 65 or Older Get Pneumococcal Vaccines - Pneumococcal vaccines help to protect against pneumococcal disease, such as pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections. Always talk with your doctor to find out which pneumococcal vaccines are recommended for you. Pneumococcal pneumonia is a serious flu-related complication that can cause death. People with chronic lung disease are at higher risk of developing severe pneumonia.
Download a flyer from the Centers for Disease Control -"Everyday Prevention Actions That Can Help Fight Germs, Like Flu"