The Causes and Symptoms of Shingles, and How it Can Affect Your Senior Parent

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The Causes and Symptoms of Shingles, and How it Can Affect Your Senior Parent



Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash, and most often appears as a single stripe of blisters that wraps around either the left or the right side of the torso, according to Mayo Clinic.

Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. After having the chickenpox, the virus “lies inactive in nerve tissue near the spinal cord and brain. Years later, the virus may reactivate as shingles,” according to Mayo Clinic.

The cause behind the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus is unclear, but research shows that it may be due to lowered immunity that occurs as people age. Shingles is more common in adults older than 50 and in people who have weakened immune systems.

Your senior parent is at risk of developing shingles if they struggle with a weakened immune system or have received a cancer diagnosis. Complications from shingles can include:

  • Postherpetic neuralgia. For some people, shingles pain continues long after the blisters have cleared. This condition is known as postherpetic neuralgia, and it occurs when damaged nerve fibers send confused and exaggerated messages of pain from your senior parent’s skin to their brain.
  • Vision loss. Shingles in or around an eye (ophthalmic shingles) can cause painful eye infections that may result in vision loss.
  • Neurological problems. Depending on which nerves are affected, shingles can cause an inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), facial paralysis, or hearing or balance problems.
  • Skin infections. If shingles blisters aren't properly treated, bacterial skin infections may develop.

If your aging parent has shingles, they can pass the varicella-zoster virus to anyone who isn't immune to chickenpox, generally through direct contact with the open sores of the shingles rash. “Once infected, the person will develop chickenpox, however, not shingles,” according to Mayo Clinic. Your senior parent should avoid physical contact with anyone who hasn't yet had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine and should wait until their shingles blisters scab. The chickenpox (varicella) vaccine and the shingles (varicella-zoster) vaccine may help prevent shingles.

If your senior parent is suffering with shingles, or if they have a weakened immune system, cancer diagnosis, or if they struggle with living at home independently, call SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona, Riverside, or Anaheim Hills. SYNERGY HomeCare Corona, Riverside, and Anaheim Hills home health caregivers assist your senior parent with a variety of tasks to ensure that they can live a healthy, safe, and independent life while remaining in their home as they continue to age. Our in home senior home health caregivers provide your aging parent with:

Errands and Transportation Support

  • Incidental transportation
  • Schedule planning and assistance
  • Errand services (grocery shopping, pharmacy visits, etc.)

Meal Preparation

  • Complete meal preparation
  • Assistance with meal planning
  • Mealtime feeding assistance

Light Housekeeping Assistance

  • Assistance with light gardening
  • Kitchen cleaning and organizing
  • Bathroom cleaning and organizing
  • Laundry and ironing

Personal Care Assistance

  • Dressing and bathing assistance
  • Assistance with getting in and out of bed and chairs
  • Assistance with getting to and from the restroom
  • Assistance with incontinence or adult briefs

Companionship Services

  • Friendly and supporting conversation
  • Help with planning social activities
  • Light exercise encouragement

24-Hour and Live-In Care

  • Dependable and reliable service
  • Communication with family members
  • Maintaining a care journal
  • Rotating caregivers

If your senior parent is in need of home health care and support services, call SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona, Riverside, or Anaheim Hills to ensure that they maintain a healthy and independent life in their home.


About SYNERGY HomeCare of Anaheim Hills
SYNERGY HomeCare of Anaheim Hills is the name you can trust in Anaheim, Anaheim Hills, Yorba Linda, Tustin, Santa Ana, Orange and Placentia for personal home care. SYNERGY HomeCare of Anaheim Hills is part of a national franchise of non-medical home care offices dedicated to providing exceptional and affordable service to anyone of any age. SYNERGY HomeCare caregivers are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, to those in need - including seniors, expectant moms, those suffering from sports injuries and debilitating illnesses, and more. SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona & Riverside can be found online at http://www.synergyhomecare.com/agencies/ca/anaheim-hills/ca25 . The location also hosts active social media pages on Facebook and Twitter. Ken and Anna can be reached at 714- 706-1613 and [email protected].

Gabriel Irvin

Gabby Irvin received her master’s degree in news-editorial journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She enjoys writing weekly blog posts for Synergy HomeCare, as it allows her to blend her passion for writing and interest in health care. She is currently pursuing a degree in nursing.

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