Is Your Senior at Particular Risk for a Recreational Water Illness?

Is Your Senior at Particular Risk for a Recreational Water Illness?
As a family caregiver, it is extremely important that you are aware of the risks your aging parent faces. This awareness allows you to recognize when your aging parent may be more vulnerable to certain issues, and take the steps either protect them from the challenge or illness, or to prepare yourself to give them the care they need to overcome it. While this applies to major risk such as heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease, it's important that you are also aware of other risks that arise throughout the year. For example, when the warmer weather comes and your family heads out to enjoy water recreation together, you may be at higher risk for recreational water illnesses.

Also referred to as RWIs, recreational water illnesses are caused by germs or chemicals in water. these can lead to a wide variety of symptoms and illnesses, including diarrhea, vomiting, respiratory infections, eye infections, ear infections, rashes, and irritation to the lungs and eyes. Understanding if your senior is at particular risk for these illnesses can help you to keep them safe and healthy while encouraging them to enjoy physical activity and quality time with your family around water activities.

Some risk factors for recreational water illnesses include:
  • Weakened immune system due to age
  • Weakened immune system due to certain health issues, such as HIV
  • Personal history of chemotherapy
  • Personal history of organ transplant, particularly recent transplant
  • Current illness
  • Current infections
  • Being prone to infections
  • Open wounds in the skin
  • Taking certain medications that reduce the immune system
If your aging parent has particular risk factors for RWI, talk to their doctor before heading to the pool, spa, water park, lake, pond, river, or other water feature. Some people are particularly vulnerable to a potentially fatal infection called cryptosporidium, which is caused by bacteria from animal or human feces. This can be found in both natural and man-made water sources, and is not always removed through chlorine treatment. 

An elder care provider can offer your senior loved one companionship and transportation to many different activities, including those that may include water. When you are unable to be with your parent or just for a respite from caring for your senior, elder care providers will step in to ensure they remain safe and continue an active lifestyle. Consider starting elder care earlier than later, so that your senior can become acquainted and comfortable with their elder care providers.

If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Draper, UT, contact the caring staff at Interim Healthcare. Call today 801-401-3515.

Author: Michael and Marlena Hawkins, Owners, Interim HealthCare, Salt Lake City, UT 

Interim HealthCare of Salt Lake City has been in business since February 2014, providing in-home personal care and support services that help our elderly and/or disabled neighbors live enriched, safe and independent lives. Our goal is to provide customized care and support services that make it possible for our clients to remain in the comfort of their own homes rather than relocate to an assisted living facility. Interim HealthCare is family owned by Michael and Marlana Hawkins, and is a Veteran Owned Small Business.

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