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Why Lyme Disease Is Dangerous for Seniors and How They Can Prevent It

Once found only in Ontario, ticks carrying Lyme disease can now be found in all of the Canadian provinces. Though the threat of this condition is dangerous for all ages, it is most concerning for the elderly population. The staff at Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care Toronto families trust, wants to share some information on how you can help your senior loved one prevent Lyme disease.

The Dangers of Lyme Disease

Many people with Lyme disease are misdiagnosed during the early stages when it is most easily treated. This is because doctors often rely on the senior remembering a tick bite or having the telltale bullseye rash, which is only present in 35 to 60 percent of cases. Misdiagnosis can cause your loved one to develop a chronic form of the disease that can imitate a wide range of other health conditions, including chronic fatigue, arthritis, anxiety, and neurological symptoms typical of Alzheimer’s. This can make diagnosis extremely difficult in seniors who may already have these other conditions.

Preventing Tick Bites

Any time your loved one is going to be outdoors, help him or her take precautions against potential tick bites by doing the following:

  • Wearing light-colored clothing that makes seeing ticks easier
  • Wearing closed-toe shoes
  • Tucking shirts and pants in to make it more difficult for ticks to get on the skin
  • Applying insect repellent containing DEET

Performing Tick Checks

The risk of contracting Lyme disease increases the longer a tick is attached. The elderly may have a difficult time spotting and removing ticks due to poor eyesight, limited flexibility, and lack of dexterity, but you can help your loved one by performing a full body check whenever he or she has been outdoors in areas that may contain ticks.

Checking Pets

Even if your loved one does not go outside, he or she can still be bitten by ticks carried in by the family pet. Try to limit your pet’s access to tick-infested areas and check it regularly for ticks. You should also ask your vet for a prescription flea and tick collar and spot treatment.

For more tips on keeping your loved one safe from Lyme disease and other serious conditions, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our live-in and part-time caregivers are expertly trained to keeps seniors healthy, safe, and comfortable while aging in place, and we also offer comprehensive Parkinson’s, stroke, and dementia care in Toronto. For more information on our in-home care services, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at (416) 488-8777 to schedule a complimentary consultation.