Seniors and Flu Season: What Family Caregivers Need to Know

Fall brings with it the holiday season and the notably less welcome flu season. Yes, it is that time of year again when we all need to get our flu shot, especially our senior loved ones who are more vulnerable to contracting the flu. Seniors are more at risk due to a greater likelihood of impaired immune systems.

It’s estimated that 90 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths and more than 60 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations in the United States each year occur in people 65 years and older.

Influenza (also known as the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. You can have the flu without having a fever.

Common Flu Symptoms

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

Don’t Become a Flu Statistic!

Because they are more susceptible and devastating complications may result, we have some tips for action provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  1. Get a flu shot! Encourage your senior and all who come in contact with them including home caregivers and family members to get one too.
  2. Take precautions to prevent the spread of illness such as covering your mouth during a cough, wash your hands frequently, and avoid people and places that might expose your senior to the illness. It is thought that the flu is spread in the air in coughs and sneezes, germs then land on surfaces and are picked up by our hands and spread when we touch our mouths, nose or eyes.
  3. If you think you or your senior are developing flu symptoms, contact the doctor quickly for treatment-the earlier the better.

If you get the flu, you can spread it to others even if you don’t feel sick. Anyone can get the flu at any age. Anyone can also spread the flu.

The flu can make chronic health problems worse, especially in older adults, so locate a provider near your senior to get a flu shot today. By the way, Medicare covers immunizations as a preventive care benefit. It could take two weeks after the shot to have full immunity so experts agree that the time is now before the main flu season hits with full force!

Don’t be afraid—experts tell us that the vaccine will not give you the flu and the vaccine is safe. You can discuss the complications with your doctor if you have a concern.

5 thoughts on “Seniors and Flu Season: What Family Caregivers Need to Know”

  1. As many of our seniors have difficulty getting around especially during the winter months basic care and nutrition often suffer but with services like meal delivery and transportation services we can compensate for a lack of mobility and provide much needed nutrition and medical needs. Senior support services throughout the USA can be found at

    • Thank you for that info! We hope all our seniors and their caregivers take advantage of getting an easily accessible flu shot this season so that they all stay well!

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