The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recently announced an increase in influenza, with no sign in a peak to the flu season. In the most recent CDC report, flu was widespread in 48 states, and more than 5,000 people had symptoms severe enough to require hospitalization.
The CDC estimates that more than 60% of flu-related hospitalizations and 90% of flu-related deaths strike people over age 65.
"Our 'grown olders' -- age 65 or older -- are at greater risk from complications due to the flu," said Bookner. "We certainly encourage everyone, including our senior clients and our caregivers, to take the time to get a flu shot."
In addition to common-sense tips such as washing hands often and covering a cough, Bookner stresses the importance of limiting contact between seniors and those with flu-like symptoms.
"Even though grandchildren want to visit grandparents, if grandchildren are not feeling well, they should wait until symptoms clear before visiting."
Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle and body aches, headache, and fatigue are common symptoms of the flu. Flu can increase the severity of many illnesses common in the elderly, including diabetes, COPD and heart disease. Medications such as Tamiflu often make symptoms less severe, so it is important to seek treatment early.
"If you suspect your loved one has the flu, call his or her healthcare provider immediately. Make certain they stay hydrated and get plenty of rest," says Bookner.
Bookner encourages those concerned about the flu or the flu vaccination, to speak with their healthcare provider.
"Medicare covers the flu shot. The CDC has actually approved a hi-dose vaccine specifically for seniors. Even if you have been healthy through January, flu season can last through late spring, so if you have been thinking about getting a flu shot but have not, it is important to do so."
Becci Bookner is a nationally-known speaker, author and educational program development consultant, and president and CEO of Family Staffing Solutions, Inc. No stranger to setting the standard in elder care, she founded her first successful elder-care services company in 1993 and has continued that work today through Family Staffing Solutions, Inc.
Family Staffing Solutions specializes in providing quality personal assistance for a variety of needs that can be individualized for older family members. The corporate office of Family Staffing Solutions, Inc. is located in Murfreesboro. It has offices in Nashville, Murfreesboro, Shelbyville, and Tullahoma.