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Caregiving Chronicles


Caregiving Chronicles will present news and analysis on caregiving topics in MetroWest and around the world, in-depth Q&As with experts in fields related to caregiving and updates and announcements about caregiving resources available in MetroWest from Program Director Douglas Flynn.

August is Vaccine Awareness Month
By DebraMcDonagh / August 19, 2021

Vaccinations prevent serious disease.

Every August is dedicated to National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), which is designed to highlight the importance of immunizations. When you get vaccinated, you’re protecting yourself, your family & your community.

Vaccines are not just for kids.

Adults can protect themselves from serious diseases such as pneumonia, flu, shingles, or whooping cough, and now COVID-19. For example, if you have a preexisting condition, such as diabetes, getting the flu can make it harder to control your blood sugar (glucose). The CDC recommends that all adults speak with their primary care physicians to make sure they are up to date on doctor recommended vaccines.

Are vaccines "the NEW" normal?

Simply put, no. Vaccines have been around for centuries. According to, an educational resource from The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the story of vaccines begins with the long history of infectious disease in humans, and in particular, was successful in the 1700's, in providing immunity to smallpox.

As you age, you may need to get vaccinated to stay protected against certain serious illnesses.

It is critical to stay updated with your vaccinations and talk with your doctor about others you may need. The credible information in this post from The National Institute on Aging provides an overview of the vaccines most commonly suggested for older adults. We recommend that you talk to your primary care physician about which vaccines may be right for you. Your regular doctor knows your health history and what medications you are on and can, therefore, help you make the most informed decision for yourself.

Vaccines may be given to help protect you, and others, from:

Flu (influenza):

  • A virus that can cause fever, chills, sore throat, stuffy nose, headache, and muscle aches
  • The flu is easy to pass from person to person
  • The virus also changes over time, which means you can get it again
  • To ensure flu vaccines remain effective, the vaccine is updated every year


  • A disease that affects the nerves and can cause pain, tingling, itching, a rash, and blisters
  • Shingles is caused by the same virus as chickenpox
  • If you had chickenpox, the virus is still in your body. The virus could become active again and cause shingles
  • Healthy adults age 50 and older should get vaccinated with the shingles vaccine, which is given in two doses

Whooping cough (pertussis): 

  • A serious illness that causes uncontrollable coughing fits, which can make it hard to breathe
  • Pertussis is caused by bacteria and can spread from person to person
  • The CDC recommends that adults get a Tdap booster shot every 10 years

Pneumococcal disease / pneumonia:

  • A serious infection that spreads from person to person by air and often causes pneumonia
  • There are two pneumococcal vaccines: PPSV23 and PCV13
  • According to the CDC, adults who are age 65 and older should get the PPSV23 vaccine
  • However, you should ask your doctor if you need one or both pneumococcal vaccines

Coronavirus (COVID-19):

  • A respiratory disease that causes fever, cough, and shortness of breath and can also lead to serious illness and death
  • Though the vaccines are new, studies show that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing transmission
  • To learn more about the types of coronavirus vaccines there are available, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website

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BayPath Elder Services, Inc

The BayPath Family Caregiver Support Program and has been made possible by funding from the Older Americans Act as granted by Executive Office of Elder Affairs. Participants may make a voluntary donation toward the cost of this federally funded service. Click here for more information. was originally made possible, in part, by generous grants from the MetroWest Health Foundation. Additional funding support was graciously donated by Avidia Bank from 2018 – 2021.

Thank you, MetroWest Health Foundation and Avidia Bank, for enabling BayPath Elder Services to provide support and resources to family caregivers.