The winter months are approaching, and with autumn in full swing, flu season arrives. Seniors are significantly more at risk of getting serious complications from the flu than younger people, so making sure your elderly loved ones receive help is essential. This year has the added challenge of the possibility of a shortage of flu shots which is the buzz that has been circulating for some time. With that in mind, here are some tips on preparing seniors for flu season.
Eating a healthy, balanced breakfast is an effective way of preparing seniors for flu season, especially one rich in fiber, as long as your senior loved one has no dietary restrictions. The bacteria in people’s guts feed off of fiber, and those same bacteria help keep our immune systems ready for any harmful viruses we may contract. By eating more fiber in their breakfasts, seniors help keep their bodies better prepared for the flu. A few examples of breakfasts with much fiber include:
Adding berries to ones’ breakfast can help their immune systems better fight viruses, too.
We recognize that some elders have physical disabilities that can prevent exercise. For the ones who can, exercise can improve their physical and mental health and prepare them for the flu season. Exercise helps white blood cells, the cells that fight off harmful infections, travel around the body quicker, and prevent illnesses more effectively. Medical experts recommend at least 30 to 60 minutes of brisk exercise, which will vary depending on your loved ones’ physical conditions. But even a quick walk around the neighborhood can be an acceptable form of exercise to keep immune systems healthy.
Stress suppresses the immune system, which makes fighting off the flu more difficult. Another tip for preparing seniors for flu season is to help them relax and control stress. If your loved ones are less stressed when chatting or playing games with friends and family, try to coordinate a virtual or in-person visit. If your loved ones relieve stress through hobbies, like gardening or painting, working those hobbies into their schedules more often can be useful.
Sunlight helps provide people with vitamin D, improves sleeping patterns, and stimulates cortisol to prevent inflammation. The shorter amount of sunlight available in fall and winter makes getting enough sunlight more important. If your elder loved ones can do so, going outside and getting sunlight can prepare their bodies for flu season by improving their sleep hygiene and mood, and reducing inflammation.
Neighborly Home Care works with you to meet all of your loved ones’ caregiving needs: physical, emotional, and social. Our caregivers are highly qualified and experienced in providing comprehensive, quality elderly care services. We can create a care plan that encompasses your loved ones’ needs while maintaining their personal freedom. For more tips on preparing seniors for flu season or information about our services, contact us today.