Avoiding Dangers of the Flu for Older Adults 

(NewsUSA) – It’s the time of year everyone dreads: flu season.

Last season, more than 900,000 people were hospitalized due to the flu or flu complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). People over the age of 65 are at greater risk for these complications, making up about 85 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths and hospitalizations last year.

Experts say nearly half (48.5 percent) of senior hospitalizations could, in fact, be avoided if proper preventative steps are taken, according to research from Home Instead, Inc. Here are tips to avoid the dangers of the flu:

* Consider a flu vaccine for your loved one. If you choose to get the flu shot, the best time to get one is before flu season is in full swing. For the best protection, the vaccine should not be limited to just older adults. Caregivers and family members also need to stay healthy to protect older loved ones.

* Take daily preventative measures. It might sound simple, but washing your hands and avoiding those who are sick can go a long way. The CDC lists seven healthy habits to stop germs, including not touching your eyes, nose or mouth and sanitizing properly.

* Encourage physical activity for those who are able. Moderate exercise boosts the immune system and can reduce the risk of a cold, according to Harvard Health. Even in frigid winter temperatures, activities such as a walk at a community recreation center or simple strength training exercises at home, using household items and body weight, can boost immunity.

* Pay attention to the signs and symptoms. Frequently check in on loved ones. Pay close attention to symptoms and changes in their appearance or demeanor. Encourage regular doctor visits to help keep minor symptoms from turning into more serious issues. And it’s important to know all symptoms of the flu and get treatment as soon as possible.

* Take extra precautions to prevent hospitalizations. Simple steps, such as acknowledging symptoms of illness when they first appear, reducing risks of falls around the home and maintaining a healthy diet can all have a substantial impact on protecting older adults from hospitalization and further infection.

For more information on staying healthy this flu season, including the “5 Ways to Prevent Senior Hospitalizations” guide, visit www.preventseniorhospitalizations.com, or find a Home Instead office near you at www.homeinstead.com/state.

Caring for A Long-Distance Senior Loved One

 (NewsUSA) – Long-distance caregiving for a parent or senior loved one is a difficult reality for many adults.

A study by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care network, finds that 23 percent of American adults currently care for an older relative who lives more than an hour away.

Providing care from a distance can be stressful. But if relocating closer to a loved one is not an option, Home Instead recommends the following tips to make providing long-distance care a little easier:

1. Establish open communication – When visiting your loved one, make time to meet the individuals who are part of his or her everyday life. Whether that’s a physician or caregiver, it’s important to get to know those involved in the daily care of a loved one.

2. Be observant – Do your loved ones avoid answering specific questions about their health? Have they stopped participating in their usual activities? Are they unaware of current events or forgotten important dates? These may be warning signs that they need additional care or help around the house.

3. Be prepared – Create a list of your older adult’s medical issues/medications, doctor’s names, and legal documents in case you need to access them from afar during an emergency.

4. Spend quality time during visits – It’s easy to get wrapped up in caregiving responsibilities.

When you visit, set aside time with your loved one to participate in activities unrelated to caregiving. Go see a movie together, plan a visit to see other family members, go for a walk or simply relax at home.

5. Get to know neighbors and friends – Get to know your loved one’s neighbors and identify one or two trustworthy individuals who can check in and give you occasional updates.

6. Learn more about caregiving – Find support to help you become a better caregiver.

For example, Home Instead Senior Care offers resources that can help family members provide better care and learn skills, such as how to safely move someone from a bed to a chair, how to help someone bathe, and how to prevent and treat bed sores, as well as basic first aid.

Family members looking for additional resources and support relating to long-distance caregiving can visit caregiverstress.com or find a local Home Instead Senior Care office by going to www.homeinstead.com/state.

Giving Thanks for Being a Caregiver to an Aging Parent

A great deal of the readjustment that goes into being a caregiver for your aging parent goes into coping with the stress and the emotional drain that a caregiver role can bring.

A great deal of the readjustment that goes into being a caregiver for your aging parent goes into coping with the stress and the emotional drain that a caregiver role can bring. In addition to the issues of how to care for an aging parent in your best possible way, there are many emotions of anger the moment programs dont work right, or once the facility she is in has problems. There’s resentment at other siblings or even at your aging parent as a result of the demands this job has on you personally.

There are other readjustments which are a huge drain on you emotionally. Balancing work, home and private life with the demands on your time being a caregiver calls for a juggling act that will involve as many dropped balls as successes before you ever get it right. And considering the time you do get a good balance, the demands of your aging parent might change and you’re again drew into that stressful situation. Continue reading “Giving Thanks for Being a Caregiver to an Aging Parent”