6 Tips for Helping an Older Parent Who Has Shingles
By Gary Hightower 9 am on
Seniors who have had chickenpox in the past are at risk for developing shingles. Although this condition can develop at any age, those who are over 60 are more likely to have the virus reactivate. Shingles creates painful blisters that may itch, burn, and break open. These tips can help you keep your senior loved one comfortable until the virus runs its course.
1. Get Your Loved One Vaccinated
The shingles vaccine is recommended for people over the age of 50. The vaccine is typically given in two doses several months apart, so make sure your loved one completes the treatment. People who have already had shingles can also get the vaccine to prevent future recurrences.
2. Seek Medical Treatment
Shingles typically goes away on its own, but there are now medical treatments that can help the blisters clear up faster. Antiviral medications might be an option for your loved one, or the doctor might prescribe a steroid. Either way, the doctor’s recommendations can shorten the duration of your loved one’s symptoms.If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, ahomecareagencyyou can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services.
3. Apply Cool Compresses
Seniors often describe shingles blisters as generating a burning feeling. A cool wet washcloth or cold pack is a great way to counteract this sensation. Remember to place the washcloth on your loved one’s skin in a way that doesn’t rub or create further irritation. The cold compress can be replaced as often as needed to continue to provide relief.
4. Give Your Loved One an Oatmeal Bath
Oats contain compounds that have soothing qualities. Shingles sores often appear on the torso, and the blisters may wrap around the sides and the back. An oatmeal bath can soothe the itching sensations that make it difficult for seniors to concentrate on anything else. It can also relieve the inflammation on the skin that surrounds the blisters. Bathing during this time is essential for removing bacteria that could cause the blisters to get infected.If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elder care Arlington, TX, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
5. Try an Anti-Itch Paste
Calamine lotion is a common over-the-counter remedy for soothing itchy skin rashes, and it’s generally safe for seniors to use. Depending on your loved one’s health, you may also be able to use an antihistamine ointment to provide relief. Homemade remedies are also an option. You can make a paste of baking soda and water to dry up the blisters, and the cooling sensation the paste produces can temporarily erase the pain.
6. Plan Distractions
Parents often try to keep kids with chickenpox so busy they can’t scratch their sores. You can use this same technique to keep your loved one from focusing on his or her discomfort. Try to plan calm but enjoyable activities that help your loved one pass the time. Working in the garden, watching movies, and reading books are all great ways to get your loved one’s mind off the illness.If your loved one develops shingles, consider hiring a professional caregiver to provide assistance with everyday tasks. Whether you need respite from your caregiving duties or your aging loved one needs live-in care, Arlington, TX, Home Care Assistance can meet your family’s care needs. Our dedicated caregivers are available around the clock to provide transportation to doctor’s appointments, ensure seniors take their prescribed medications, and help with a variety of tasks in and outside the home. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call Home Care Assistance at (817) 591-1580 today.