As a family caregiver, it is your responsibility not just to help your parents and manage the health challenges and complications that they are already dealing with, but also to take the proper steps to prevent further challenges as they age in place. This is particularly true when it comes to those illnesses that are a special risk for aging adults, and that can carry severe complications and consequences that can linger with them throughout the rest of their life, such as shingles. A result of varicella zoster, the same virus that causes chickenpox, shingles affects approximately 1 million people throughout the United States each year. This virus can lead to a variety of symptoms, including a painful rash and damage to vision. It is important that you understand not just the virus, but also what you can do to help to protect your parent as they age.
Beyond the basic tenets of keeping your parent healthy, including encouraging them to eat a healthy diet, stay physically active, manage their health issues and challenges effectively, and use an aggressive germ control approach, there is only one true method of reducing the risk of shingles for your parent. This is vaccination. There are two vaccinations that can help to reduce this risk and it is extremely important to talk to your parent’s doctor about each and determine if either or both may be the right choice for them. The first is the chickenpox vaccine. This is used to reduce the risk of catching the initial infection that can eventually lead to shingles. Though generally given in childhood, this vaccine can also be given to adults who have never had chickenpox.
The other is the shingles vaccination. This is given to those who have had chickenpox to reduce the risk of the virus re-emerging as shingles. The timing of such a vaccination is up to your parent’s doctor depending on their personal health and risk. Though it is approved for those over the age of 50, many doctors recommend waiting until the age of 60 when the risk is higher and the protection is more important. Talk to your parent’s doctor to ensure that together you make the choice that is right for your parent.
Keep in mind that these vaccinations are not foolproof. They do not give absolute immunity against the illnesses and do not guarantee that your parent will not develop them. This means that if your parent has risk factors, even if they have been vaccinated, they should still be considered at risk and any symptoms that they show should be taken seriously.
If your aging parent has been struggling with challenges that you do not feel you can meet, your schedule is too busy for you to give them the level of care that they need, you struggle with your own limitations that keep you from giving them adequate care, or you simply feel that they would benefit from more diversified care and attention, now may be the ideal time for you to start elderly care for them. Through elderly care your aging parent can manage their challenges and limitations, seek a more active and engaged lifestyle, and maintain as much independence as possible as they age in place. The services can include safe and reliable transportation, assistance with personal care needs, help with keeping the home clean and tidy, meal preparation, and companionship to support mental and emotional health and well-being.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Buffalo Grove, IL, contact the caring staff at Companion Services of America today at (847) 943-3786. Our home care service area includes Northbrook, Highland Park, Deerfield, Glenview, Buffalo Grove, Evanston, Des Plaines, Skokie, Lake Forest, Wilmette and the surrounding areas.