As people age, their immune defenses become weaker—putting seniors 65 and older at a greater risk of complications from the flu compared to younger, healthy adults. Since influenza can be serious for this age group, it is crucial that anyone working closely with seniors be vaccinated early, before flu season begins.

In order to be a leading senior living community in Mississippi, St. Catherine’s Village requires its staff to be vaccinated. In fact, more than 99 percent of employees—including clerical, custodial and dietary staff—already have received their flu vaccinations this year. This has garnered the all-inclusive Life Care community a place on the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) Influenza Vaccination Honor Roll. As one of the state’s best Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC), St. Catherine’s Village is the only CCRC in the Jackson, Mississippi area to receive this designation.

The IAC is an organization that works to prevent disease by increasing immunization rates. It creates and distributes materials to inform patients, parents, healthcare organizations, and government health agencies about the safety, efficacy and use of vaccines. For more than two decades, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has worked in concert with the IAC to educate healthcare professionals about U.S. vaccine recommendations.

The Influenza Honor Roll recognizes stellar examples of influenza vaccination mandates in healthcare settings. These “champions” who make the honor roll have taken the lead in mandating influenza vaccination within their organization or institution. To be included, an organization’s mandate must require influenza vaccination for employees and must include serious measures to prevent transmission of influenza from unvaccinated workers to patients.

The directive at St. Catherine’s Village goes beyond requiring employees to be vaccinated. St. Catherine’s Village also requires the flu vaccination for any contract workers and private duty staff. The CCRC also follows the CDC and Mississippi Department of Health guidelines for additional precautions. Any staff who have not received the vaccine for medical or religious reasons are required to wear masks upon entrance into any of the facilities until flu season has ended.

Creating and maintaining a protective environment is a natural extension of the mission at St. Catherine’s Village, which is to provide compassionate care to preserve and improve the quality of life for its residents.

As you look for senior housing options for your loved ones, be sure to delve deep into the organization’s healthcare practices. And consider a CCRC that proactively takes the steps needed for resident care and safety.