Q: Why does being 65 or older put me at higher risk for getting the flu?
A: As you age, your immune system weakens. This weakening makes seniors — adults 65 years and older — more susceptible to the flu. For seniors, the flu can be very serious — even deadly. Ninety percent of flu-related deaths and more than half of flu-related hospitalizations occur in people age 65 and older.
Q: How can I protect myself from the flu?
A: It is important for all seniors to get the flu vaccine. You have two options for vaccination: the regular dose flu shot and the high-dose shot that results in a stronger immune response. Talk to your health care provider to decide which one is right for you. Good hand washing and good hygiene also takes a role in staying healthy this flu season.
Q: Will my insurance pay for the vaccine?
A: Yes, Medicare will cover the flu vaccine once every flu season.
Q: How am I going to pay for long-term health care for myself or a loved one?
A: With 70 percent of the population older than the age of 65 needing long-term health care, it becomes important to plan ahead for how to pay for long-term care. Don’t rely on Medicare to pay for long-term care. Traditional health insurance and Medicare do not cover the costs of long-term care services unless you have been hospitalized and have a qualifying need for skilled care. Even then, the number of days covered is limited.
Medicaid is a state and federally-funded program that will cover most long-term care services. However, to qualify for this program an individual must be medically and financially eligible. Individuals may qualify for services at home under this program.
Long-term care insurance is another option. These policies vary in cost and come in a range of care options and benefits. Those who are already in poor health or are receiving long-term care services may not qualify for long-term care insurance.
Attend Oakwood Care Center’s “In an Oakwood Hour” program on Oct, 10, from noon to 1 p.m. for more information on this topic. Call Katie Mason at (641) 357-5244 to reserve your spot at this free lunch and learn about long-term health care payor sources.Information provided by Katie Mason, marketing coordinator at Oakwood Care Center, 400 Highway 18 W, Clear Lake, 641 357-5244.