Senior Care Blog Wayland and Weston

Should You Care for Your Parent if You Have the Flu?

By Denise Roskamp

Flu season is upon us and this year it is particularly dangerous. This means that people of all age groups are at risk of contracting the illness and suffering the potentially serious consequences as a result of it. This means that as a family caregiver, you are likely taking extensive effort to protect your aging parent as well as your children from the sickness, working to detect any symptoms that might indicate that they are dealing with the illness, and even taking care of them if they become sick. But what happens if you contract the flu? Should you consider continuing taking care of your parents as you are dealing with the illness? The answer is no.

The flu is a highly contagious virus that can lead to potentially severe consequences. Adults generally begin to show symptoms between 1 and 4 days after being exposed to the virus, and can remain contagious for between 5 and 10 days after this exposure. This means that you can be contagious even if you have not yet developed symptoms, and even after your symptoms have improved.

Elderly adults tend to have immune systems that are lower and less effective than those of younger people. This means that they have a more difficult time fighting off infections and illnesses, and are not as able to recover from them if they do contract them. An elderly adult who catches the flu is more likely to suffer very serious consequences and can be at increased risk for further infections and illnesses, such as pneumonia. This can quickly worsen, putting their future health and even at their life at risk.

If you have been exposed to someone who has the flu, such as a child, partner, or co-worker, it is very important that you take steps to not only protect yourself but your senior. Arrange for other care, such as from a senior care provider or respite senior care provider who can step in and provide the care that your parent needs while you recover. This will help to prevent the spread of the illness from you to your parent, keeping them healthier and allowing you the time to recover and get healthy again.

Starting senior care for your aging parent can be one of the best decisions that you can make for your elderly parent during the course of your caregiver journey with them. A senior home care services provider can be there with your aging parent on a schedule that is fully customized not just to your parent's individual needs and challenges, but also to the care efforts that you give them. This ensures that your parent gets all of the care, support, and assistance that they need while also keeping you at the forefront of their care routine. The highly personalized services of this care provider are designed to help your parent manage their needs in the way that is right for them while also encouraging a lifestyle that is as independent, active, and engaged as they age in place. These can include assistance with personal care tasks, mobility support, help keeping the home clean, and providing transportation to get your parent where they need and want to go on their own schedule.