Flu Shot Frequency for Colorado Seniors

Dear Kirsten:

senior getting flu shot

My 85-year-old father says he isn’t going to have his flu shot this year. He was diagnosed with dementia a few years ago and is becoming increasingly difficult. Last year he waited until flu season was almost over before he would agree to get his vaccine. Now he thinks because he had it so late last year, he doesn’t need it again this year. I am his primary caregiver and I get the flu shot every year so I don’t risk giving him the virus if I were to catch it. I’m trying to decide if I should just give up trying to convince him he needs it this year or if I should continue to work on him?

Eve in Loveland, Colorado

Dear Eve:

Sounds like you are in a tough spot! The belief that if you have a flu shot late in the previous flu season you won’t need it again the following year is surprisingly common. It is one of the myths that sometimes keeps seniors who are at high risk for complications of the flu from actually receiving the vaccine. The truth is the influenza vaccine changes every year based on what viruses are predicted for that year. Even if you have a flu shot at the very end of flu season, you still need to have it again the next year to be protected.

A Popular Flu Shot Myth

I know you said your father is living with dementia. Depending upon where he is cognitively, it might help to share some of the statistics about seniors and flu season. They are pretty startling. 90% of flu-related deaths each year are people over the age of 65. More than half of the admissions to local hospitals for complications from influenza are seniors. These numbers make it pretty clear how important the flu shot is.

I hope this information is of help to you, Eve! Please let me know if there is anything else you need to help you care for your father.

Kirsten

From personal care needs and case management to guardianship concerns, Seniors in Transition provides consulting services to help families turn frustrating health care problems into quality, affordable solutions. Seniors in Transition is here to help families in the Fort Collins, CO and Loveland, CO areas. Give us a call at 970.204.6977 today.

Does your aging loved one get a flu shot every year? Please share!

 

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