Geriatric community care
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Geriatric community care

Our health care clinic has been in operation for 80 years, and some of our patients have been coming here since they were children. We pride ourselves on providing balanced medical care that looks at all aspects of a patient's wellbeing, including their mood, mental health, social connection as well as their physical health. As many of our patients are older, we've become specialists in geriatric care and help patients to stay at home as long as possible. We find that happy and connected seniors tend to be healthy. Our blog is all about holistic care for older patients in a health care clinic.

Geriatric community care

Know The Signs: Protecting Elderly Parents During Flu Season

Jane Brown

Summer is coming to an end, and that means winter is on its way! During the nasty 2017 flu season, 90% of the deaths recorded were in patients aged 65 or older. The government has already announced an enhanced flu vaccine to be made available for free to the over-65s, but it is important that your parent receives urgent medical attention if they get ill with the flu. The faster the intervention, the greater their odds of survival. These are the pointers you must know so you can intervene this winter if you think your parent has more than just a cold.

Prevention steps

The best way to stop your parent from getting sick with the flu is preventing infection in the first place. The number-one prevention step is taking advantage of the free vaccination. Book your parents into their local doctor after the beginning of April and get the vaccination done early. The earlier you do this, the better the chance of it activating before flu season starts in earnest.

Other prevention steps include:

  • keeping your parents away from crowds, especially if their health is run-down due to battling other illness
  • ensuring they have easy access to soap and hand sanitizer to practice good health habits
  • providing plenty of tissues and disposing of them when the sniffles strike.

If your parent is showing certain flu symptoms, then a same-day visit to the doctor is warranted.

Fighting back against flu

The problem with elderly people getting the flu is that their immune system is not as strong as one from a younger person. While flu for a 30-year-old means headaches, fever, cough and time in bed, flu in an elderly person may lead to other complications such as pneumonia. If your parent shows any of these symptoms, you need a medical intervention:

  • high fever
  • shaking caused by chills
  • nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
  • coughing up mucus which is yellow or green

Tamiflu medication can reduce the effect and length of the flu and is only available on prescription from the doctor. However, in order for this medication to be effective, it must be taken within 48 hours of getting ill.

If you cannot decide whether your parent has a cold or the flu, take them to the doctor anyway. For this vulnerable age group, a misdiagnosis made by them or yourself could lead to more complicated medical issues which may lead to a stay in a hospital. During flu season, it is better to be safe than sorry.