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Hello, Caregivers! We were wondering if the flu outbreak has affected any of you. And if so, how has that impacted your role as a caregiver?

(We are working with a reporter to research this topic and would appreciate any stories/experiences you might be willing to share.)

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I believe mom had the flu. She is 83 and it has left her with neurological damage on her left side. Has anyone had this same experience?
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Chloesgram, oh I have been in your shoes before and I know how devastating a change of environment is on the elderly! We have something called VNA here, (Visiting Nurses Association) and the Dr just calls them up and they come to the house . I told him I cant get Mom out and it sets her back 10 yards if I change her environment and he sends them over. See if they have them ok and prays to ya!!!
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Must post this experience to let everyone know that you are NOT alone! The flu is
raging in our area. I have had what I call the "crud" twice this winter, my Mom didn't catch it the first time, but made up for it this time I had it. Anytime she gets this bad
cold stuff, it automatically turns to pneumonia because she cannot comprehend how to get the mucus up and the nose blowed and such. So here we go to the ER, me after 10 days of the "crud" and my Mom so weak that I had to dress her and practically carry her to the vehicle, stopping to rest about every 2 feet. We arrived at 12:30 pm. Everything went smooth, x-ray, bloodwork, diagnosis and deciding that she needed to be admitted for treatment because she cannot shake it off on her own. So, at 10:30 PM, we finally arrived to her hospital room! 10 hrs in an ER cubicle with an agitated dementia patient is enough to "frazzle" any sane person's last nerve and that is just about where I stand today. Mom is super, sweet, mild and meek, but yesterday was a different story. She got an "obsession" with the bathroom and thought she should go set on the pot! Kept saying I have to pee. Just in a little bit, I have to poop! So all of the ER staff was
so swamped that I thought I do it all the time at home, why not here?! So I do and she is so weak and tottery and confused that she and we ended up in the bathroom floor. Luckily, I caught her with my body and she had a light landing, with me being her padding. Hopefully, the good Lord will heal my neck and shoulder, so that I can continue caring for her. It took a PA and 2 nurses to get her up and back to bed and I got orders, DO NOT let her out of that bed. If necessary, let her use her Depends. So then she decided they were talking about her and on and on and on about I have to go to the bathroom. I said I will call if you are sure you have to go, "well, I don't know", "I just passed gas", and I said "Mom, you cannot run the staff back here every time you let a fart"! My apologies to whoever heard me! The around 4 in the eve, she started "sundowning" which she doesn't do, but because of a strange place, she made up for lost time! This lady has slept from Friday until Monday morning almost non-stop and I'm guessing that she is making up for lost time of being asleep, because there is NO way she was even close to closing her eyes. If I am around, she will NOT rest at all. Why, I do not know! So today, I am dreading even setting foot back in the hospital to set on my "rearend" for the day. She will either be asleep all day or agitated again. I am so far behind on bills, laundry, grocery shopping and everything else in my life that I don't know what to do. All I do is pray! This scenerio has been going on for 2 years and 4 months now, like every other month. I am an only child and have one child myself, who tries to help me out as much as she can, but I am wondering how much longer I can last. Mom turns 94 this month and I am 57 and feel like I am the one going down hill. Two years make a big difference on one's health and activeness during a stressful time. Does anyone have any helpful tips or ideas that might be able to relieve a little of my stress level so that I won't have a pre-mature heart attack or nervous breakdown before my time?? Thanks for listening to me and know that you are not alone in caring for your loved ones and going through a rough time. All we can
do is PRAY, PRAY, PRAY! All tips will be greatly appreciated! Thanks! Plus, I feel guilty leaving her at the hospital by herself, but she will NOT rest with me there.
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@Familycouncil -- to answer your question, both of my bedridden parents have a gov't funded organization that comes Mon-Friday to sponge bathe them. The organization also makes it a point to provide the yearly flu shot by contracting out a certified nurse to visit each homes. Before this is done, we must fill out the form and have their doctors sign it certifying that he has seen them and that they are fit for the flu shot.
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my 86 yr old mother has mananged to avoid this terrible flu up to now. She has had flu jab and visits quite a large day centre every day during the week for couple of hours. She has vascular dementia and lives alone with help company and a great support network from family and carers. We try our best to make sure mam eats as healthy as we can and the usual things of keeping her hydrated with drinks. We also endeavour to walk her every day whatever the weather, except really extreme. This is not an easy task but very well worth it in means of her sharpness and mood lifted once she back home. Im a great believer in vitamins helping us especially with an elder who doesnt eat as much as she used to, but my siblings edge on side of caution and doctors always poo poo any benefit of giving vitamins when they ask, however when mam has had few sniffles or feeling a little like she coming down with a cold we do keep a bottle of tonic to give her, just a multi vitamin one and fingers crossed seems to help. I also think getting the windows open and letting air into the house has got to help, I know mam feels the cold but when you walk in house and are knocked out by the heat, that can only be breeding ground for germs and virusis. Quite a few of my friends have been struck down with the terrible sickness bug and the flu and have been very very ill for a good 3 to 4 weeks.
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Because of health issues I cannot get a flu shot. I used to get shots every year at work and (knock on wood) have not had the flu in probably 15 years. My parents, who live in a facility, are given the shots every year. They have quarantined the assisted living side because so many people had it, including the caregivers. Some were put in the hospital. Not many on the independent living side have been real sick. We have been very fortunate this year. I avoid everyone because if I get it I can get VERY sick and have to triple my meds. The doctor wants me in for routine blood tests & I told them I was not coming in there with all those sick people. I can't get sick because I have to care for my parents & there is no one else.
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I've had my flu shot and have not become sick, luckily. Others in my agency have become sick despite the flu shot. I have seen flu like symptoms in facilities and homes that I visit doing hospice work. One facility has instituted face masks until spring. Not a bad idea. Hopefully I won't be bringing anything home to my elderly mother! She also has had a flu shot. WASH YOUR HANDS.
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Questions needing addressed:

==When did The Flu Season change time-frame so drastically?
For many years, media hyped the start of flu season back in August, "hurry and get your shots!!!!" --Flu season is upon us imminently...[referring to the Fall season].
SUDDENLY this year, "flu season" is now Late Winter/Spring?

==What are the existing conditions of those who die from The Flu?
==How many get the flu shot, and die anyway?
==Exactly what do those who do die from "flu" actually die from?
==HOW MANY people PER POPULATION, die from Flu?

==Why do people get sick with flu symptoms, from the flu shot???
A Doc finally explained why I seem to get the flu after flu shots:
"Your immune system goes into overdrive responding to that killed virus; your system does not know it is a killed virus, it simply responds..."
....Which would give foundation for some people who used to come to our old office, who got their Flu Shot divided into 4 mini-shots delivered subcutaneously, at the rate of 1 per week for 4 weeks.
Those patients had NO adverse reactions, yet still got benefits of the flu shot.
When I tried that one year, it was the ONLY time I -never- got sick from a flu shot or any time over that winter.
Why?
PERHAPS, some folks immune systems too easily go hyper-active, and do better with smaller bits repeated over a period of time. Those with immune oddities also can have Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Arthritis, and many other auto-immune dysfunctions that have hyperactive immune function reactions.
Mine seems to be one of those.

BUT...I no longer work where the Doc will do that.
IF I could get the doses drawn up, from a Doc, I could do them at home.
But none are doing that, either.

This process is sort of done with a few vaccines.
It may be time to evaluate this seriously, to learn if this would help other basic vaccines work better with less adverse effects.
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Although my Mom is now in a LTC facility, I started to feel the effects of the flu just before New years so I did not go to visit.. after going to my Dr it was confirned that I had the flu. Received a call yesterday from the facility where Mom is a resident that no visitors are being allowed until further notice. Mom is showing no signs, but I knew enough not to go when I was not feeling well. I am still trying to get over this illness and it really is tough. Best to all.. PS get the flu shot if they are avaliable.
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wow, did I abuse the kings english ,I need to edit a little more closely. sorry
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I have a question for home health agencies and any one else with input. Does home health or any medical provider provide a flue ;shots in the home to those that are home bound or limited mobiity flue shots in the home. Many elderly and handicapped can not ge through the routine to travel and wait to obtain flu shots. I know most doctor offices do provide flu shots but that has it complications with shortage and etc.? Any one have a thought on this.
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Timely question.The flu wave seems to be just starting in the south and next month (February) should be nothing but fun with the flu for Superbowl.

I've just returned from being with my mom in the NH in TX. She as well as all the other residents are current with flu & pneumonia shots and all staff are required to be current on that too; still they have about a 10% - 15% outbreak. The ones who get really sick get moved to the rehab wing of the NH for it seems about 3 -4 days and a couple have gone to the hospital. Dehydration is a huge issue in all this and those that get checked out over the holidays to be with family seem to have a higher rate of flu symptoms. This I gathered from family visiting the NH for the New Year's Eve party. Two with the same story...."they took mom home for Xmas for a 3 day stay and now she is just so sick since she is back @ the NH.."

In TX, flu shots still available for adults, run $ 20 - 30 @ Target & HEB.

When I started this long dementia journey with my mom, I was told to get a pneumonia shot by my mom's gerontologist, this even though she is in a NH. This is totally different from the flu shot and seems rarely is routinely given or available. I think it is a live vaccine, so may be due to that. Got mine about 5 years ago and it is good for 10 and ran about $ 50 and I got it at a public health clinic and had a whole disclaimer that needed to be filled out. Had a sore & swollen arm for about a week afterwards. I am the only one in my family with a pneumonia shot and I think that whomever is the default caregiver for their household should have one. They last like 10 years too. There needs to be more information on the pneumonia shot.

Our whole family has gotten their flu shots: my DH's building does flu shot week for all firms in the building (but not their families) and I think you have to be in an insurance program to get it; my son's school does them and sends a routine form on it with all the starting of school paperwork bundle and cost is $ 10.00 but his school has an actual RN and LPRN on staff. I get mine annually at either the public health clinic $ 15.00 or Target $ 28.00 and just pay for it and do not file insurance as they pay only $ 5 - 8 and is just not worth the followup time and paperwork bs to file insurance.

I don't think cost is the big issue in why more don't get the flu shot but rather the it's not going to happen to me and fear of getting the flu from it. And I bet that's about 30% of the population and they aren't changing their mindset. We live in the Hurricane Katrina zone and after the storm for about 3 years, the public health clinics were doing all immunizations, flu shots, etc for free as so many people had lost their medical records and their physicians were gone. EVEN THEN people just didn't go and do it or take their kids unless they had to for school or work.

Tamiflu has been a good and bad thing. ALot of folks feel they don't need the flu shot as they can just get Tamiflu and be just fine. Which is total loco.
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I have called the pharmacy for 2 days in a row, first day they were out and waiting for more shots, second day, they got 60 and used them all. Since I only have a cna here for 3 hours in the morning on certain days when the afternoon shots came in I couldnt get there. I certainly would not go to the doctors and sit in a germ infected waiting room for one even if it were morning time. My 91 year old Mom with late state dementia has had her shot but I read they arent 100% effective. What if we caregivers get it? What people dont understand is that we still have to work in taking care of our parent whether they or we, are sick and thats the worst. My grandchildren and son and wife all have it now and I want to make sure they dont stop by for a good week or two now, in which they will think I am neurotic over it, but no one understands like caretakers. Good luck everyone, and I agree with hesaw, going to semi-hybernate for the next couple of months here.
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We all get the flu shot every year. Husband works in a hospital...two sons are college students. We do what we can to keep anything away from 89 yo mother! We definitely don't want the flu in the house. So far-so good!
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So far I am just exercising caution: have my enhanced flu shot (transplant} and avoiding crowds. People coughing at a recent meeting encouraged me to head home rather than stay for discussion. Plan to bypass hospital if possible by taking vitamins, esp C.
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My 89-year-old father ended up in the hospital with pneumonia over Christmas after a bout with the flu, then went back again yesterday with anemia that was unrelated to the flu, plus dehydration. All of us, including dad, have had our flu and pneumonia shots and so far, my mom and mil, as well as myself and hubby, have avoided the flu.

We spent the entire day in a mobbed ER yesterday, and only two people came in that were NOT there for flu and respiratory symptoms. Dad's in an overflow wing and the hospital is over-full...Lisbeth
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Both of my elderly parents contracted this flu. Both ended up being hospitalized with complications, mostly dehydration which happened VERY fast. My dad also had a seizure, the first in many years. Both parents have heart issues and the flu caused irregular heartbeat. Mom went on Tamiflu dad did not. They have different doctors.
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