As a caregiver, I started to think about how my health (or poor health) would impact my parents. I didn’t want to be the one to bring the flu to them, so made sure I got annual flu shots.
In my role as a Daily Money Manager, I research varied ways to save my clients money—from simple things like reviewing phone and cable plans to bigger issues like refinancing and downsizing options.
At a recent training workshop, I learned that the lack of vaccinations is estimated to cost the American people $15.3 billion. It never really dawned on me how much money NOT getting a flu shot costs me either directly on medication and doctor visits, or indirectly through lost wages and discomfort.
In addition to the flu vaccine, three other vaccinations are recommended for adults over 65 years of age. Not only should you check with your doctor about these vaccines for those you are caring for, but they might also benefit you and I hope you will discuss them with your doctor.They include:
- Shingles or herpes zoster vaccine — if you know anyone who has developed shingles, you know how debilitating it can be. The healthcare cost of treating shingles is estimated at $1 billion a year.
- Tdap — while many of us with kids still in the household are familiar with this vaccination, only 16% of adults over 65 have gotten it. My son received the vaccination that includes vaccines for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis but did contract whooping cough. It was awful in a 13-year-old, but apparently, it’s even more devastating for adults. Next time you need a tetanus shot, ask if you can get Tdap instead.
- Prevnar 13 and Pneumovax 23 for the prevention of pneumonia, which kills more annually than any of the others mentioned.
I still giggle when I think about my dad’s dedication to getting his flu shot every year. During the last month of his life (which we didn’t know at the time it would be), when he was just diagnosed with a tumor on his tongue and having a hard time managing, we took him to the Emergency Room. I left the room for a moment and while I was gone, apparently they asked him and he agreed to get his flu shot. Remembered.