Dealing with Dementia

State Of Dementia

You wake without your passport in a foreign city:

Jet lagged, not sure of the day, the time.

You have the wrong clothes, the wrong money.

Your do not know the language, the way to go home.

On the street people rush about, busy, important.

They jabber over your head.

You need a bathroom, don’t know how to ask in this tongue.


Author: Mary Damon Pelletier


As we grow older, it is normal to forget things and then to remember them later.  Misplacing items, finding yourself in a room and wondering why you are there, and becoming weary of work, family and social obligations, fortunately can be attributed to some normal changes with aging.  I have found myself dealing with some of these issues.  Remembering names can also be a challenge.  I use the alphabet to trigger my memory with pretty good results.  If you are like I am, dementia is not a subject which is fun to talk or write about.  Unfortunately, as our population grows increasingly older, this disease is becoming more prevalent.  Therefore we need to understand dementia and how to deal with it, to make our lives the best they can be.


What is dementia?  Dementia is a general term for a decline in a person’s mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life.  Alzheimer’s Disease accounts for approximately 70% of the cases.  Vascular dementia, which occurs after a stroke, is the second most common type of dementia.  There are other medical conditions such as depression, medication side effects, excess use of alcohol, thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies that have symptoms of dementia, but can be treated and are reversible. That is why it is so important to see your doctor if you notice any decline in your mental ability. Many dementias start out slowly and gradually get worse.  Early diagnosis is very important since it allows the person to get the maximum benefit from available treatments and time to plan for the future.

What are the symptoms of dementia?  Symptoms may vary, but having a significant impairment with at least two of the following mental functions would be considered dementia.

–         Memory (loss that disrupts daily life)

–         Communication and language (trouble following or joining a conversation)

–         Ability to focus and to pay attention (difficulties with money, cooking and poor concentration)

–         Reasoning and judgment (poor decision making)

–         Visual perception (problems with reading, driving, and judging distance)


What causes dementia?  Injury to brain cells interferes with their ability to communicate with each other.  This damage may be caused by a stroke or as in Alzheimer’s Disease, high levels of certain proteins inside and outside brain cells make it hard for brain cells to stay healthy and communicate with each other.  Consequently, a person’s thinking, behavior and feelings can be affected.  Our brain is made up of many regions that control different functions, such as memory, judgment and movement.  When any of these areas are affected, a person cannot function normally.  Most often the brain’s center of learning and memory is the first to be impaired.  Therefore, memory loss is one of the earliest symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease.

What determines a dementia diagnosis?  Unfortunately, there is no one simple test to determine if someone has dementia.  Doctors need to make the diagnoses of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementias based on a thorough medical history, physical examination, laboratory tests and careful review of a person’s day-to-day function and behavior.  Psychological testing may also be done. 

What is the treatment and care for a person with dementia? Depending on the cause, there are drug treatments that may temporarily improve the symptoms.  Non-drug therapies can also be used to alleviate some of the symptoms of dementia.


What are the risk factors and methods for prevention of dementia?   Age and genetics are two major risk factors for dementia that cannot be changed.  As we grow older, we have a higher possibility of acquiring some form of dementia.  Having a family history of dementia is thought to increase our chances of developing this disease.

The good news is that researchers believe there are three areas on which we can work to delay or prevent the onset of dementia.

–         Cardiovascular risk factors:  Because our brain is nourished by blood vessels, anything that can harm these vessels deprives the heart and brain of vital food and oxygen.  Vascular dementia is caused by this type of damage.  This type of dementia can also compound the symptoms of other dementias such as Alzheimer’s Disease.  You can protect your brain and heart by keeping your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar within the recommended limits.  Maintaining a healthy weight also decreases the stress on your cardiovascular system. As always, it goes without saying, the elimination of smoking would be one of the best things a person could do to improve his or her circulation and overall health.

–         Physical and mental exercise:  Evidence suggests that regular physical and mental exercise may help lower the risk of some types of dementia. Increasing the blood and oxygen flow to the brain by increasing your activity has a direct benefit to the brain cells.  Always check with your doctor for the appropriate exercise plan to suit your needs.  Word games, computer games, reading and socializing can be a wonderful way to keep your mind active.

–         Diet: Keeping your heart healthy is one of the most important ways to keep your brain healthy.  The appropriate diet will help to ensure that the heart is able to maintain the proper circulation to make certain the brain is well nourished.  A heart healthy diet consists of relatively little red meat and emphasizes whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish and shellfish, and nuts, olive oil and other healthy fats.

Nobody wants to think about the possibility of having dementia. However, it is reassuring to know that there are ways of improving your health and decreasing the possibility of developing dementia.  During my years at the Farrar Home, I have witnessed many residents with some form of dementia.  I have often seen improvement in their conditions when they receive the proper treatment.  Working with medical professionals to maintain control of your health, regular exercise (both physical and mental), an appropriate diet and, sometimes the use of prescribed medication are ways to ensure you are doing all that you can for yourself.

Living life to the best of our abilities and taking good care of ourselves and other people will help to make the world a better place for everyone.

There’s No Place Like Home

Truer words were never spoken.  Whether you live in a castle or a cabin, there is no place like home.  Unfortunately, for some people, the time comes when it is necessary to make a move.  Over the years, I have worked with many people while they were making this decision.  I am convinced that, for some individuals, it is the most difficult decision they have ever had to make. Many elderly people have already experienced multiple losses in their lives.  The loss of a spouse, a child or a friend is common among older adults.  They have a strong desire to hold onto their homes which have provided them with comfort and security over the years. Also, their independence becomes extremely important to them.  Having to leave their homes may also mean giving up their pets and their cars.  It is understandable that this could be devastating for some people.  No one can imagine this feeling unless he or she has personally experienced it. 

Occasionally, I have residents who enter the Home because it was their plan to do so once they reached this stage of their lives.  They don’t dwell on the past and their losses but look to make the best of the rest of their lives.  They are true examples of aging gracefully.  I hope when I reach that time of my life I will be as accepting of my situation as they are.  Wish me luck! 

The decision to move out of the home can be complicated and emotionally wrenching, not only for the individuals, but for the family and caregivers.   It is difficult to acknowledge and accept that physical, emotional and mental changes have reduced their independence.  

Before a decision is made, it should be recognized that loss of sight, hearing loss, memory loss, confusion, incontinence and depression are not normal aspects of aging. In many cases, these are conditions that can be corrected or improved when identified and treated. 

The following checklist  may help in evaluating the situation relative to older adults. Keep in mind that safety is the most important issue.

 -Are they acting depressed and lonesome?  Are they socially isolated?

-Are they becoming increasingly anxious about being alone? Do they want caregivers to stay with them and become clingy when they have to leave?

-Do they have an understanding of how to leave their home in an emergency?

-Do they wander away from their home?

-When they do go outside, do they know where they live and how to get back inside?

-Are they able to respond to a fire alarm, smoke or other potential dangers?

-Are they able to call for help by using the phone?  Do they know how and when to dial 911 in an emergency?

-Are they able to handle their medications and take them as directed?  Do they have frequent medical emergencies requiring immediate treatment?

-Do they have the proper judgment regarding who should and should not be let into their home?

-Can they safely prepare something to eat if they get hungry?  Do they know how to use the stove and remember to turn it off?

-Are they able to use the bathroom and toilet without assistance?  Are they able to take care of their own hygiene?

-Are they driving when they shouldn’t be?  This, of course, is not only a danger to themselves, but to others.

-Are they able to manage their home and their bills? 

Some of these issues and concerns can be managed by having caregivers come into the home. This strategy would be “ Plan A”.  As needs increase, however, it becomes more difficult to handle the situation by simply using outside help.  When the need for 24 hour supervision becomes necessary, it is usually the time to discuss leaving the home. Options would include living with family or entering an adult home or assisted living situation. This action would be “ Plan B”. Healthcare professionals and family play an important role in finding appropriate placement. It is also always preferable, when possible, to have the senior involved in determining his or her future. This helps one to maintain some sense of control and independence. 

The good news is that from my observations, most seniors adjust well to “the move.”  When they feel safe, comfortable, and their needs are being met, their lives become easier. Stress levels are decreased because their responsibilities have lessened.  They are able to use their energy to enjoy life, their families and their friends.  These positive outcomes help to make their lives the best they can be. 

Submitted by Carol McKee, RN, Farrar Home Administrator     5/2013

Aging Gracefully articles can be found at



How to See into the Future

Herman Melville once said, “The eyes are the gateway to the soul.” I happen to agree. I did not know how precious my vision was until it was partially taken away from me. Over the past few years, the vision in my right eye was becoming progressively cloudier. Since my eye pressures were within normal limits, cataract formation seemed to be the possible cause. When the situation worsened, an ophthalmologist performed extensive testing. Although a small cataract was discovered, it was not my main problem. I was diagnosed with severe glaucoma in my right eye and the onset of glaucoma in my left eye. Not all cases of glaucoma can be diagnosed with pressures alone. I was devastated because this situation could have been prevented had it been caught early enough. My loss of sight is permanent.

I feel blessed to have the sight I do have. With proper care and treatment in maintaining my vision, I look forward to a bright future.


As people age, so do their eyes. It has been said that a person fears losing her or his eyesight more than the loss of any other sense. Taking good care of your eyes will help to ensure that your vision remains the best it can be. Certainly your eyes require as much care as the rest of your body if they are to work well for you. Walk around in a dark room (carefully) in order to imagine what it would be like to live without sight. Many elders are doing just that. Glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts and “Dry Eye Syndrome” are a few of the most common conditions experienced by our senior citizens. Many of these problems can be avoided or successfully treated with proper care.


A few general tips for eye care as you age include the following recommendations:


-Eat a proper diet.  Along with the rest of your body, your eyes will only work well if they have the right nutrition. Your diet plays a very important role in preventing many diseases of the eye. It has been found that maintaining  proper weight and controlling cholesterol and blood pressure are significant factors which help you to preserve good vision. Read food labels. Vitamin A, C and E are the three most essential ingredients in your diet for healthy eyes. Indeed, following a balanced diet will give you the necessary nutrition for your eyes. If, for some reason, you feel your diet is not complete, consult your doctor regarding the need for supplements.


-Stop smoking. Smoke is irritating to the eyes and can cause dry eye syndrome. Also, be aware of the dangers of second-hand smoke.


-Wear sunglasses. It is a necessity for good eye care. Ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause serious damage to our eyes including cataracts and macular degeneration. Purchasing sunglasses that will give you proper protection is most important. A visit to your eye care professional will help you make the appropriate choice.


-Wear safety glasses.  Your eyes need to be protected when working outside, performing activities which could endanger your eyes. Debris scattered by lawnmowers, trimmers and saws can do permanent damage to your eyes. Injuries to your eyes can be caused by walking into a low-hanging tree branch, hitting an eye during a fall, and exposure to fumes and splashes from chemicals used in gardening or equipment maintenance. You should also wear safety glasses when playing a sport which puts you at risk for eye injury.


-Get medical care when necessary. There are certain situations that require professional evaluation and treatment. A strike to the eye which causes swelling and discoloration, a foreign object that cannot be easily removed by flushing with clean water, or a chemical splash to the eye are physical traumas which would require professional examination.


-Rest your eyes.  While reading, watching television or working on the computer, take frequent breaks to rest your eyes. Reading or working with poor lighting can cause eye strain. Eye strain can damage the eyes.


For many years, working at the Farrar Home, I have witnessed a number of residents struggle with poor vision and the loss of vision. I now have greater empathy for them. I have seen the concern and careful treatment they give their eyes. They often see their eye doctors as frequently as they do their primary care physicians. They know the importance of preserving good vision. Many have been able to maintain the sight they have with proper care and treatment.


Take it from me. Never take your eyes for granted. If you are having any problems with your vision or your eyes, make sure you schedule an appointment with an eye care specialist. For people under the age of 65, a comprehensive eye exam is recommended every 2-3 years. Over the age of 65, people should have annual eye exams as part of their routine eye care. It is even more important for people with diabetes as they are prone to diseases of the eye. All of our senses diminish slowly over time. Always be aware that in order to make our lives the best they can be, we need to do all we can to preserve our overall health and well being.

The Good News about Depression in the Elderly

Depression is the most common mental illness found in older people. The good news is that with proper diagnosis and treatment, people suffering from depression can live happy, healthy lives. Amazingly, depression is the second most frequent reason for which people, over the age of seventy, consult their doctors. Although depression is common in this age group, it does not mean that it is normal. Unfortunately, only about ten percent of depressed seniors receive proper diagnosis and treatment for their conditions. Symptoms of depression in the elderly are frequently confused with the effects of other illnesses and the medications used to treat them.

Being female or being single are two high risk factors for depression. Also, lack of a supportive network of family or friends and the occurrence of stressful life events also predispose individuals to depression. Chronic illnesses, chronic pain, and conditions such as stroke, diabetes, cancer and dementia may be factors which contribute to depression.

Symptoms of depression in the older age group may include complaints of aches and pains. Anxiety may be exhibited by edgy, panicky behavior. The person may state that he or she feels tense or stressed. Depressed individuals may appear sad, cry easily and may withdraw from activities which they previously enjoyed. They may shun the company of others and spend a great deal of time alone. Severe depression may cause a person to appear as if he or she has dementia when this is not the case. It is distressing for someone to experience depression. It is also very frightening for family, friends and caregivers to deal with someone who has untreated severe depression.

Depression, as one ages, may be triggered by adverse life events. Examples of such events are mourning the loss of a loved one, anxiety regarding a loved one’s health problems and one’s own health issues. It has also been found that as the body ages so does the brain. Some of the changes which occur can reduce chemicals normally produced in the brain. An adequate supply of these substances maintains a feeling of well being. A reduction in the level of these natural chemicals may alter that state.

We have reviewed the “tough stuff” regarding depression. Now, let us discuss ways of handling the situation if we find ourselves in need of help.
Thankfully, there is hope as there are highly successful treatments for depression. Depression is not always long lasting. It can be situational and may resolve as adjustment to a new environment or condition occurs. Talking with one’s primary physician or seeking professional counseling may be all that is required for minor or situational depression. If necessary, the use of antidepressants along with counseling may also be very beneficial. There are many medications available that produce wonderful results and have few side effects. Some medications can also help to replace the natural “feel good” chemicals which may be depleted as we age. The stigma must be removed from diagnosis and treatment of depression and other mental disorders. They are truly illnesses just like diabetes or heart ailments. People suffering from depression need treatment and medication, if indicated, to help them lead healthy lives.

At the Farrar Home, I have witnessed many depressed seniors find peace and happiness through proper diagnosis and treatment of their conditions.
Regaining their dignity and self esteem has allowed them to live their lives to the fullest. Observation of these transitions has been both rewarding and fulfilling.

Reviewing our mental health situation is something we owe to ourselves and to our loved ones. If you feel you may need some help in this area, please discuss the issue with your doctor. This could be the first step in making your life the best that it can be.

Carol McKee, RN, Farrar Home Administrator

Enhanced by Zemanta

Advance Directives

Advance Directives

Who is in Charge of Your Life?

 You may be thinking that this is the last topic about which you want to hear or read. Actually, advance care planning is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and for your family.  Planning for the last stage of life allows us to make informed choices and to share our wishes with our health care professionals and our family. This step allows us to maintain control, achieve peace of mind and assure that our wishes are honored.

Years ago, physicians were the ones who were mainly responsible for determining how aggressively to treat patients at the end of life.   We have come a long way in recent years.  Patients are now well informed regarding their conditions and prognoses. We are educated about the normal progression of our illnesses and we are aware of the available options for care and treatment. With professional assistance from our medical team, we are able to make informed decisions regarding this last stage of life.

When we are relatively young and in good health, we may question the need to have Advance Directives. Unfortunately, we never know when a medical event such as a terminal illness or disease may occur. A stroke, heart attack or an accident may cause a life threatening situation, leaving us unable to voice our wishes for care and treatment. Providing end of life treatment to a person who has not conveyed her/his wishes regarding these circumstances places a tremendous burden on families and medical teams.

You may wish to consider the following Advance Directives.

 The New York State Living Will allows you to state your wishes regarding medical care in the event that you develop an irreversible condition which prevents you from making your own medical decisions.

The Health Care Proxy allows you to appoint someone you trust to convey your wishes, such as a family member or close friend, if you are unable to do so.  The designated Proxy needs to be fully informed of all your healthcare decisions.

The MOLST (Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) form is a relatively new directive.  This directive is a more detailed and specific form for care at the end of life.  It is completed by your physician and you, often in the later stages of life or for a more serious medical condition.

The DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order is used to decline resuscitation when your condition does not allow for any reasonable hope of recovery. This order is used when it is determined that resuscitation would only prolong the dying process.

I have just briefly outlined Advance Directives and the importance they play in our lives.  To be fully informed, you need to discuss them with your healthcare team and your family before you make decisions regarding your personal treatment. It is also important to understand that any of these directives can be updated and changed as your situation or your wishes change.


This may be an uncomfortable topic for some individuals. However, as I mentioned earlier, it may be the best gift you can give to yourself, your family and your healthcare team. Advance Directives ensure that you will have control over one of the most important stages of your life.

As Administrator of the Farrar Home, it is one of the discussions I have with our residents during the admission process. Over the years, we have seen that our population is more informed. Now, it is rare for a resident not to have Advance Directives in place. I completed my Advance Directives a few years ago. It gives me great peace of mind that my wishes are known and recorded. It is also reassuring to me that my family will not be burdened with difficult decisions during a stressful time.

I wish you good health and happiness as we continue to work to make our lives the best they can be.

Carol McKee, RN, Administrator of the Farrar Home

Enhanced by Zemanta

New Website

We have been hard at work for the last few months, and we are finally ready to show it off. Welcome to the new

We would like to point out a few of our upgrades. First, under the “Latest News” page, we will keep you updated on all of our latest events and news. Such as employee recognition, upcoming events, residents activities and more.

The next thing we want to point out is our integration with Facebook and other social networking sites. Each article we post here you can share with your friends and family on your Facebook.  Also, we have our own Facebook page for you to check out as well.  Simply click the “Like” button in the menu to the right.

Besides the look, there are many more upgrades we have instituted here, but they are too numerous to list. Please, browse around the site. Make sure to share with your Facebook. Also, feel free to e-mail Carol, at and let us know what you think of our changes.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Making the Holidays Special


 Making the Holidays Special

Christmas gifts.

 It’s that time of year!  We have just finished our Thanksgiving celebration and Christmas is just a few weeks away.   This is a time to spread and receive joy and love.  Together with family and friends, we enjoy good food, gift exchanges and making happy new memories.  Unfortunately, for some senior citizens Christmas can be a sad time.  Many are alone and do not have friends or family with whom to spend the holiday.  I have some suggestions that may make your holiday and someone else’s the best it can be.


Invite an elderly neighbor or couple for a holiday meal with your family.  Open your home and your hearts to someone who has no family nearby and is unable to cook a Christmas meal.  Having someone who has loved to cook for years help you prepare the meal could be, in itself, a wonderful gift.


Give a helping hand to a senior citizen in your neighborhood to decorate for Christmas.  Many older people like to decorate, but simply cannot do so on their own.  Spend an afternoon with someone. Help them buy and put up a Christmas tree.  A wreath on the door and a few lights outside do wonders in helping a person to get into the Christmas spirit.


There are countless Christmas functions going on throughout the area.  Ask an older person to attend a concert or church service with you.  A ride to see the lights is always a favorite for most people, but if a person cannot drive, they miss out on this fun time.  Make room for one or two more when you make you plans to view the holiday displays in town.


Visit your local retirement homes.  Christmas caroling or just a friendly visit during the holidays can bring great joy to individuals who are feeling lonely at Christmas time.


Check with local nursing homes to see if you can bring presents for those residents who do not have family.  The staff may be able to give suggestions about items patients may need or enjoy.  Small baskets can be made up of necessities and some fun gifts.



The Christmas season is a time for giving and receiving, but as we grow older, we realize the best gift anyone can give is the gift of ourselves.  A kind word or a conversation with someone who may be lonely, or just showing compassion and care for our fellow human beings can be the best gifts of all.  We sometimes don’t realize how powerful our words and actions can be.  We all have the ability to make someone’s life better, and in turn, fulfill our own.


At this time of year, the Farrar Home is full of family and friends enjoying various activities.  The community has always played a large role in helping the residents fully appreciate the holidays. I can tell you, from experience, that the suggestions above can make a difference in a person’s life.


We invite you all to celebrate this season at the Farrar Home Christmas Tea and Open House this Sunday from 2pm to 4pm.  I wish you a holiday full of peace, love and happiness.


Submitted by Carol McKee, RN, Farrar Home Administrator



Enhanced by Zemanta

Integrity vs Despair


 Integrity vs. Despair

English: Portrait of old woman sitting by a wi...

Some may say, “What’s that all about?”  And some may find this very familiar.  According to theorist, Erik Erikson, “Integrity vs. Despair”, is the final psychological stage of development and life.  Erikson believes that as we age and mature, our goal should be to move successfully from one stage to the next.  In each stage, a person confronts and, hopefully, masters new psycho social challenges.  Each stage builds on the positive completion of the previous stages.  It is indicated, that by reaching “Integrity vs. Despair”, we have mastered the previous 7 psychological stages.

 My thought is that this final stage of life is the most important one.  This is the last chance we have to make our lives meaningful and to correct any mistakes we may have made in the past. This stage occurs during late adulthood (age 60 years and older).  As we enter this stage we have a heightened sense of mortality. This may be due to our changing social roles.  There may be less parenting responsibilities, or the retirement and / or death of a spouse or close friends.  We may also feel the physical problems that come with aging such as illnesses, which limit the way we function physically and mentally.

People who struggle with this stage of life are said to be in despair.  They become preoccupied with the past and their failures.  They regret all the bad decisions and realize they have little time or energy to reverse them.  People in despair often become depressed, spiteful, paranoid, hypochondriacal, and can develop patterns of senility with or without physical basis.

People with integrity have come to terms with their life and with the thought of the end of life.  They can look back on their lives and feel comfortable with the course of events and the choices they have made along the way. They have learned from their failures and still maintain a sense of hope and trust in the future.  We have all made mistakes, some more serious than others; yet if you hadn’t made these mistakes you wouldn’t be who you are.  If you play it too safe and made few mistakes, your life may not be as rich as it is.

The good news is that I have seen many older adults in this last stage of life actually turn despair into integrity.  They have the opportunity to review their life, the good and the bad, and to find a way to resolve burdens or problems that have left them in despair.  Having worked with the elderly for over 30 years, I marvel at the ability and strength we have in our last years.  If we are unable to solve issues on our own, there are many resources available to help you work through this difficult time.  If possible, reaching out to family is a great start. Clergy, counselors and doctors are also very helpful in assisting someone to find satisfaction in their life.  To find peace within yourself is definitely worth the effort.

Erikson states that someone who approaches death without fear has the strength called wisdom.  He also adds that this is a gift to our children because “healthy children will not fear life if their elders have integrity enough not to fear death.”  We should all try to make our life the best it can be and work to find the integrity we have within.

Submitted by Carol McKee, RN, Farrar Home Administrator

Enhanced by Zemanta

I Don’t Want the Flu Shot!! — Really??


I Don’t Want the Flu Shot!!  — Really??

 English: A White House nurse prepares to admin...

It is that time of year.  Most medical professionals are encouraging their high risk patients to get the flu shot, but why are they doing so?

Every year in the United States, on average, 5%- 20% of the population gets the flu. More than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications. People often are uncertain about  whether to get the flu vaccine or not. Many people often have questions regarding the flu vaccine. What is the flu? Why should I get the vaccine? What is the flu vaccine? Here are some answers to commonly asked questions.

What is the flu?

The flu is a common viral infection that is spread from person to person in secretions from the nose and lungs. (For example, when sneezing.) The flu is a common respiratory infection that develops primarily in the lungs. As opposed to other respiratory infections,the flu usually causes higher temperatures, more malaise and body aches.

 Why should I get vaccinated?

The flu is a serious, highly infectious respiratory infection. With other respiratory infections, the symptoms are usually mild and most people can continue working or going to school while ill. With the flu, the symptoms are severe and prolonged. The infection stresses the body and causes people to miss days of work or school. The flu can be treated with medications. However,the medications are expensive and are not as effective as the vaccine. They need to be started 24-48 hours after the symptoms begin.

 Who should get vaccinated?

-People 65 or older.

-People living in nursing home or other long term care facilities.

-Adults and children 6 months or older with chronic lung or heart disease (including asthma)

-Adults and children 6 months and older who need regular medical care or were in a hospital during the previous year because of a metabolic disease (like diabetes), chronic kidney disease, or weakened immune system (including immune system problems caused by medicines or by infection with human immunodeficiency virus [HIV/AIDS].

-Women who will be pregnant during the flu season.

-All children from 6 -23 months of age.

-People who can transmit the flu to others. For example, healthcare workers, childcare workers, people in close contact with adults 65 or older

 How long does it take for the vaccine to work?

The vaccine is effective 2 weeks after injection. The vaccine is only effective against the strains of the virus that match the vaccine. The strains vary from year to year. This is why it is important to be vaccinated each year! The flu season can begin in October and may last until May. October or November is the best time to receive the vaccine. However, it is still effective if administered earlier or later in the season.

 What is the flu vaccine?

The flu vaccine is an inactivated vaccine, meaning that it contains killed influenza virus. The vaccine is injected into muscles and stimulates the immune system to produce an immune response (antibodies) to the flu virus. When the virus enters a person who has been vaccinated, the antibodies attack and kill the virus to prevent infection.

Each year the flu virus can change slightly, making the vaccine used in previous years ineffective. Every year, a new vaccine must be prepared that will be effective against the expected flu virus. The trick is to be able to predict which flu viruses are going to cause infection. The appropriate vaccine is then developed.

As required by the NYS Department of Health, I strongly encourage all my staff and residents to get the flu shot.  This helps to keep everyone healthy.  Over the years, I have seen a marked decrease in the incidence of the flu at the Farrar Home.  I feel this is largely due to almost 100% of our population receiving the flu shot.

I Do Want the Flu Shot!!  — Really!!

 Submitted by Carol McKee, RN, Farrar Home Administrator

Enhanced by Zemanta