Loss of independence, greatest aging fear

CARP is urging Canadians and government to understand the severe consequences of the flu to help seniors maintain independence

TORONTO, June 21, 2016 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association for Retired Persons (CARP) recently released their findings from the CARP Health Survey Poll™ on healthy aging and the effects influenza (flu) can have on seniors.  With almost 10,000 Canadian respondents, the survey results highlighted seniors' misconceptions about the flu's impact and almost half of respondents said their biggest fear of aging was loss of independence.1

The survey, which was done in partnership with Sanofi Pasteur, revealed that 93 per cent of respondents believe it's possible for seniors to stay healthy all year round.1 However, seniors are at high-risk for the most severe consequences of flu including hospitalization and death.2 It is estimated that up to 91 per cent of flu-related deaths occur in those 65 years of age and older.3

"There is a lot of education that needs to happen when it comes to the flu and its realities for many seniors, such as understanding that the flu can exacerbate a pre-existing condition," says Anthony Quinn, Director of Operations at CARP. "Our CARP Health Survey Poll™ provides an opportunity to understand our members' perception of flu, to raise awareness on the impact of flu on our aging population and newer prevention options to ensure seniors can stay active and live independently as long as possible."

Over two thirds of survey respondents are unaware that people over the age of 65 generally have weakened immune systems and are at a higher risk of developing flu related complications.1,4  Further, it's not widely known that seniors are at risk of functional decline as a result of flu, with the potential for significant decline in independence and mobility.5 

"Reducing the rates of the flu in this population is a key public health priority," says Dr. Janet McElhaney, specialist in seniors' health, Scientific Director of the Health Sciences North Research Institute in Sudbury, Ontario and holder of the HSN Volunteer Association Chair in Healthy Aging.  "Today, there is a new high dose flu vaccine which has been demonstrated to provide a better immune response in adults 65 and older, which helps improve protection against the flu greater than regular flu vaccines."

Survey results indicated that almost 70 per cent of respondents would request such a flu vaccine from their doctor or pharmacist to reduce their risk of getting the flu.1

CARP and Sanofi Pasteur would like to ensure that seniors are provided with the knowledge and resources to help protect themselves against the flu.

Through their partnership they have released the results from the CARP Health Survey Poll™ and CARP has developed the Faces of Flu awareness video. This video illustrates the first-hand impact the flu can have on seniors. Highlighting stories from individuals directly affected by the flu, viewers can get a better understanding of the dangers and risk associated with this debilitating virus.

Anthony Quinn of CARP is urging the Canadian government to make seniors' health a priority.

"Governments need to support immunization options that help adults over 65 years of age to stay as healthy as possible," says Anthony Quinn. "We should strive to improve healthcare for the aging population and ensure this new flu vaccine developed for seniors is publicly funded."

To view the Faces of Flu awareness video and/or for information about how you can do your part to help ensure this new flu vaccine is publicly funded, visit www.CARP.ca.

About CARP
CARP is Canada's largest national non-profit, non-partisan organization whose mission is to enhance the quality of life for Canadians As We Age. CARP has over 300,000 members, a network of 60 chapters across Canada, and is on a "March to a Million" membership campaign. Most CARP members also receive 9 issues of ZOOMER magazine. For more info, please visit www.carp.ca.

About Sanofi
Sanofi, a global healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients' needs. Sanofi has core strengths in diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, consumer healthcare, emerging markets, animal health and Genzyme. Sanofi is listed in Paris ((EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).

Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, provides more than 1 billion doses of vaccine each year, making it possible to immunize more than 500 million people across the globe. A world leader in the vaccine industry, Sanofi Pasteur offers a broad range of vaccines protecting against 20 infectious diseases. The company's heritage, to create vaccines that protect life, dates back more than a century. Sanofi Pasteur is the largest company entirely dedicated to vaccines. Every day, the company invests more than EUR 1 million in research and development. For more information, please visit: www.sanofipasteur.com or www.sanofipasteur.ca.

1 Canadian Association of Retired Persons. Important Survey on Seniors' Health. May 2016. Survey results on file.
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What You Should Know and Do this Flu Season If You Are 65 Years and Older. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/65over.htm. Accessed May 2016.
3 Public Health Agency of Canada. FluWatch Report: August 16 to August 29, 2015 (Weeks 33 & 34). http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2015/aspc-phac/HP58-1-2015-34-eng.pdf. Accessed May 2016.
4 Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. People at High Risk of Developing Flu Related Complications. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm. Accessed May 2016.
5 Barker et al. A study of the impact of influenza on the functional status of frail older people. Arch Intern Med. 1998 Mar 23;158(6):645-50.

SOURCE Sanofi Pasteur

Video with caption: "Video: The Faces of Flu awareness video highlights a senior’s story of how she was directly affected by the flu. CARP advocates for the health and wellbeing of Canadian seniors and encourages them to get immunized against influenza. By producing this video they hope to ensure seniors have a better understanding of the dangers and risk associated with this debilitating virus.". Video available at: https://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20160621_C2842_VIDEO_EN_719797.mp4&posterurl=http%3a%2f%2fphotos.newswire.ca%2fimages%2f20160621_C2842_PHOTO_EN_719797.jpg&order=1&jdd=20160621&cnum=C2842

For further information: GCI Group, Amanda Federchuk, T. 416-486-7231, amanda.federchuk@gcicanada.com; Sanofi Pasteur, Maggie Wang Maric, T. 416-667-2955, Maggie.WangMaric@sanofipasteur.com; CARP, Anthony Quinn, T. 416-607-2474, anthony@carp.ca

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