What Should an Older Senior Do When They Have the Flu at Assisted Living?

Most assisted living facilities in the United States are well equipped to handle various illnesses. During the winter months, flu season ramps up. This means more people are susceptible to the flu and it becomes much easier to spread.

There are plenty of factors at play regarding this, but the most common reason is rooted in stagnant air. During the winter months the windows and doors of most assisted living facilities in colder climates remain closed.

When the air is not moving around as it might during the spring, summer, and early autumn seasons, bacteria and germs can fester. The flu vaccine is often encouraged, especially for older Americans whose immune system may not be as strong as it once was.

Staff may also be required to get the flu vaccine.

Assisted Living Theodore, AL: What Should an Older Senior Do When They Have the Flu at Assisted Living?

The staff — including janitorial, administrative, supportive, etc. — may be required as part of their employment to get the flu vaccine each season. This is not a guarantee these workers will not contract the flu. Depending on the year and strain of the flu that goes around, the effectiveness of the vaccine could be somewhere around 50/50.

However, any time a staff member is suspected of having the flu, they may not be permitted to work or even come on campus until they’re cleared by a doctor.

What about residents?

A more complicated circumstance is when residents contract the flu virus. As independent people, they have certain rights that cannot be taken away or intruded upon.

Each assisted living facility is different and one may have various policies in place — an agreement, as it were — that residents might have to sign volunteering to remain in the room if they are suspected of having the flu.

Residents should be respectful of everyone else.

It should go without saying, but it often does require reminders. If a person feels as though they might have some flu-like symptoms, they should immediately get to their doctor or a medical professional for diagnosis.

If a senior at an assisted living facility has been diagnosed with the flu, they should be mindful and respectful of all other residents and staff and restrict their activities throughout the grounds.

That doesn’t mean they have to remain in the room all day, every day until they’re better, but they should wear a mask, possibly wear gloves while walking around, and minimize the spreading of germs.

If you have specific questions, you should reach out to the assisted living facility and discuss your concerns. You may very well be surprised at how effective a quality assisted living community can be when it comes to the flu and flu season.


If you or an aging loved one are considering Assisted Living in Theodore, AL, contact Ashbury Manor Specialty Care and Assisted Living at 251-317-3017.

About Cindy Johnson

Ashbury Manor’s Administrator since 2008, Cindy Johnson is a long-time expert in the assisted living field. Prior to her arrival at Ashbury Manor, Cindy managed acquisitions and crisis management for existing and new larger senior care project developments for eleven years. As regional manager for an Oregon-based assisted living management company, Cindy was directly responsible for operations for five 50-65 bed assisted living facilities. As manager during the transition to new ownership, Cindy reorganized internal operations and conducted leadership training for Executive Directors. As a result of her management and expertise, one of the company’s facilities (in Ocala, Florida) received a deficiency-free survey, resulting in the lifting of a moratorium on operation.

A nurse for 36 years, senior care has always been Cindy’s passion. Desiring to work more closely with residents, Cindy became a Category II Administrator in 2005. As Ashbury Manor’s Administrator, Cindy understands the complexities associated with dementia and cognitive impairment and she has fallen in love with seniors with dementia or cognitive impairment and their families.

Cindy is Treasurer of the local “Senior Coalition” chapter. She enjoys mentoring new candidates who want to become administrators.

As a 16-bed facility, with Cindy's training and experience, our residents and their families can be sure Ashbury Manor’s carefully selected staff provides the expertise of a larger facility while maintaining the individualized personal care of a small special needs home.
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