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October 16, 2020

How independent living communities can help seniors stay healthy as we move closer to the cold and flu season

Cold and flu season has always been a time of year to take extra health precautions. With unique risks this year due to the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to know exactly how to protect against common colds, the flu and any other illnesses that could affect the most vulnerable. For seniors in independent living communities like Country Meadows, many health protocols have already been strengthened to avoid the spread of illnesses. However, there are still several ways that seniors can protect themselves further during cold and flu season and ensure they stay healthy and strong. 

The benefits of getting a flu shot

According to the CDC, the most important item to check off the healthy living list for adults 65 years of age and older is to get a flu shot. A flu shot significantly decreases the chances of suffering a severe case of the flu. Since seniors are more at risk to contract cold and flu strains that weaken the body, a flu shot can also protect the immune system and assist in combatting COVID-19 symptoms. As per best practices, the flu shot should be received before the end of October on an annual basis. However, as the season stretches on, vaccinations should be considered even as late as January. 

The flu shot is updated every year as new flu strains develop. It’s crucial to make this a yearly routine so that each of the newest strains of the flu virus can be protected against. And for independent living residents in communities like Country Meadows, protecting yourself from developing serious complications from the flu will also help to protect those within your community as well. 

Other cold and flu season vaccines and safety measures for independent living seniors to consider

The standard flu shot may not be the best option for some seniors – not in terms of efficacy, but for the body’s immune system response. There are some adverse effects to receiving a flu shot, so seniors have the option to receive a high dose flu vaccine that will help to further strengthen the immune system. This treatment, called Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent, is designed specifically for those 65 and older and is created from four flu strains rather than the standard three. In addition to flu shots, seniors should also speak with their health care providers about shots that help to prevent elevated illnesses that can develop as a result of getting the flu, such as pneumonia and meningitis. 

Protecting against colds and the flu can start long before the colder weather arrives. Leading a healthy lifestyle includes frequent handwashing, a proper diet, and plenty of sleep to keep the body strong against the threat of illness. For independent living residents at Country Meadows, and those who need extra assistance, plenty of exercise classes and wellness activities are available to help keep the body and mind strong. 

Flu shots are available at most major pharmacies, through your doctor’s office, and at specialized clinics or urgent care centers. Most health insurances cover the cost of the flu shot as well. 

How Country Meadows protects seniors’ health in our independent living community

The top priorities at Country Meadows have always included health and safety. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in deeper cleaning protocols in all independent living communities to help protect residents from the risk of illness. The safety precautions within our campuses, including regularly changing air filters in our advanced HVAC systems, an increased number of handwashing stations and distribution of sanitation products and proper use of PPE will certainly continue as we enter this vulnerable season. Family visitation will continue across our independent living communities with the current COVID-19 regulations, but we do ask that any individuals who have experienced any cold or flu symptoms refrain from visiting. Flu shots are available for all independent living and personal care or assisted living residents as part of our senior living care options. Country Meadows also offers free flu shots for all of our co-workers. 

With one location in Maryland and ten locations in Pennsylvania, Country Meadows is recognized as one of the best independent living communities for seniors in the area. We are able to provide a wide range of services for both independent living residents and those who need personal care or assisted living options. These also include memory support services and restorative care. If you or a loved one are interested in learning more about independent living or life at Country Meadows, contact us today. 


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