Should Your Senior Loved One Get a Flu Vaccination?

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Should Your Elderly Loved One Be Vaccinated for the Flu?

By Lesa Hardiman, 9:00 am on

Flu season is here, and getting vaccinated can prevent a senior from developing life-threatening complications. As you make plans for Grand Rapids home care this season, keep these things in mind to determine if a flu shot is right for your elderly loved one.

What Are the Benefits of Getting Vaccinated?

Flu shots are important for seniors over the age of 65 because their lower immune systems place them at greater risk for complications. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, it is currently estimated that 80-90 percent of flu-related deaths involved people over age 65. This is because the flu can potentially lead to pneumonia and also exacerbate existing health conditions such as diabetes, asthma, and heart disease.

When Should Someone Receive the Vaccine?

Due to the serious complications that can arise when someone catches the flu, it is recommended that anyone over 6 months of age should be vaccinated. However, seniors over 65 and especially those with known health conditions take priority when there is a waiting list. Ideally, your loved one should receive his or her flu vaccine as early as possible in the season since it takes approximately 2 weeks to reach full immunity.

What Are the Vaccination Options?

Seniors should avoid the nasal spray flu vaccine since it may not give them enough immunity to ward off the flu. However, they can choose from the regular flu vaccine or they can take the new high-dose vaccine. Although the high-dose vaccine is still being researched, current findings point toward it providing a higher immune response that can be beneficial for seniors.

When Should a Vaccination Be Skipped?

As important as it is to get a flu shot in most cases, there are some situations when it may not be suitable for your loved one. For instance, seniors who have had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a flu shot in the past may be advised to avoid getting vaccinated. It is also important to discuss your loved one’s current health with his or her physician. Often, a flu shot can still be administered to someone displaying mild symptoms of illness, but a doctor may suggest waiting if your loved one is seriously ill.

In addition to getting your loved one vaccinated for the flu, there are a variety of other ways to help keep him or her healthy, including hiring a professional part-time or live-in caregiver. At Home Care Assistance, our caregivers are trained in the revolutionary Balanced Care Method, which helps encourage healthy lifestyle choices. We also offer specialized Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia care in Grand Rapids for seniors who require more comprehensive care. For more information on our senior care services, call one of our experienced Care Managers at 616-243-0835 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.