If you have an older family member who is part of the Baby Boomer generation (born between 1945 and 1965), they should be tested for hepatitis C. Hepatitis C, or hep C, is a liver disease that is mainly transmitted through contact with an infected person’s blood. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), higher numbers of people in the Baby Boomer generation have hep c than other generations. The reason isn’t entirely clear, but experts say that it may be because transmission of the disease was at its peak from the 1960s through the 1980s. Also, guidelines for preventing transmission through medical equipment and procedures were not put into place until later.
Caring for someone with hep C requires some extra precautions since the disease can be transmitted. Below are some things family caregivers to seniors with hep C need to know.
Understand How the Disease is Transmitted
To protect yourself and others from getting hep C, it’s important to know how it is spread—and how it isn’t. First, you should know that it cannot be transmitted through casual contact. That means others cannot get it in these ways:
- Coughing or sneezing.
- Sharing eating utensils or glasses.
That said, there’s no reason to worry about being in day-to-day contact with your senior family member. Having hep C should not prevent them from spending them time with grandchildren, family, or friends. It also should not keep others from showing them affection.
Prevent Contact with Blood
Because hep C is spread through blood, it’s important to avoid contact with the senior’s blood. Keep gloves on hand and put them on before tending to a cut or wound. Keep all cuts and wounds covered with bandages. Also, never share a razor, nail clippers, toothbrush, or anything else that could have blood on it with someone who has hep C.
Know What to Expect During Treatment
Many of the medications used to treat hep C have side effects. Some of them are:
- Anxiety and/or depression.
- Stomach upset.
- Body aches.
In addition to medication side effects, hep C can have an emotional impact. If your aging relative shows signs of emotional issues or side effects from medicines, report them to the doctor.
Elder care providers can assist seniors with hep C. Elder care providers are professionals who understand how to prevent the transmission of diseases, so they know to use gloves and cover open wounds. During treatment for hep C, elder care providers can remind the older adult when it is time to take medications. Elder care providers can also offer transportation to doctor appointments when needed.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED-ONE ARE CONSIDERING ELDER CARE IN ROLESVILLE, NC, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT SENIORS HELPING SENIORS TODAY. CALL (919) 761-5346.