Are You Protected From the Flu?

Last year the flu season was one of the deadliest in decades. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports influenza killed 80,000 people. Millions more became sick from the respiratory virus and almost one million people were hospitalized. It’s a fact that older adults are at the greatest risk of serious complications from the flu. This is because seniors often already have weakened immune systems from other medical conditions and chronic illnesses.

Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people also may have vomiting and diarrhea. You can have the flu and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.

Flu Prevention

  • Get the vaccine. CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against the virus. Furthermore, the flu shot doesn’t just help you avoid the flu. It also minimizes your chances of secondary complications from the virus which include pneumonia, stroke, and heart attack. People 65 years and older should get a flu shot and not a nasal spray vaccine.  There are regular flu shots that are approved for use in people 65 and older and there also are two vaccines designed specifically for seniors: High-Dose Flu Vaccine and Adjuvanted Flu Vaccine. Ask your doctor which one is best for you.
  • Take action. A few simple measures like washing your hands throughout the day and using a tissue to touch your face with your hands can help reduce your chances of getting the flu. Try to avoid contact with anyone who shows any signs of a cold or flu. If you think you have the flu stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone (except to receive medical care).
  • Use antiviral drugs. Call your doctor once you develop symptoms of the flu. A physician can prescribe an antiviral drug which can help alleviate the severity of the flu and possibly avoid a hospital stay. These drugs work best when they are stated within 48 hours of getting sick. Antiviral medications are especially important for high-risk individuals like older adults.


All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only about senior living topics. The information provided on this blog is accurate and true to the best of our knowledge but there may be errors, omissions, or mistakes. Assisted Living Made Simple makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or information found by following any link on this site. The staff at Assisted Living Made Simple are not medical, psychological, legal, or tax professionals. Seek advice from a professional regarding your specific situation.

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Holiday Blues

The holidays can trigger sadness, loneliness, and depression in many adults, especially seniors. It’s not generally the holiday itself; rather, it is often a variety of things surrounding the events between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day that contribute to the holiday blues. The holidays not only remind them of loved ones they lost but also of another chapter closing in their own lives.
Loneliness during the holidays is intensified for seniors who are alone with no family or friends who live nearby. The holidays can be stressful for most adults; it is more so for seniors who may not have the health, energy, or means to enjoy all the festivities.

Signs of Depression in Seniors

The good news is that holiday blues is temporary and usually subsides after the start of the New Year. However, if you see any persistent symptoms in an elderly parent, this could be a sign of depression. According to the National Institute on Aging, depression is a common problem among older adults. Symptoms of ongoing depression include:

• Persistent sad, anxious, or empty mood;
• Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities;
• Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism;
• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness;
• Decreased energy, fatigue, being slowed down;
• Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions;
• Difficulty sleeping, early morning awakening, or oversleeping;
• Loss of appetite or weight changes;
• Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts;
• Restlessness or irritability;
• Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without an apparent physical cause and that does not go away even with treatment.

It is important to note that suicidal thoughts or actions should never be ignored and the following measures should be taken:

• Call your doctor.
• Call 911 for emergency services.
• Go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
• Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) to speak with a trained counselor at a suicide crisis center nearest you.

How to Help Seniors Cope with the Holiday Blues

• Include elderly loved ones in your holiday plans. Offer to provide transportation to and from an event, but also respect their need to relax. Let seniors know what the holiday plans are and let them decide what they would like to attend.
• Go out. It’s critical for seniors to leave the house and enjoy some fresh air every day, if possible. Take a senior out for lunch, a cup of coffee, or simply a ride in the car. Getting out of the house is a   great mood lifter!
• Talk to them. It is crucial for the elderly to share their thoughts about what they are feeling around the holidays. Give them a chance to express their thoughts and feelings. They will feel better, and their spirits will be lifted.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. Speak to your physician or mental health provider for medical advice. Call the advocates at Assisted Living Made Simple for more information on senior resources in your area.