Q: Over my 70 years, I've learned the lesson that it's almost impossible to change people's minds about certain issues. Even if you bring up hard proof, there's no guarantee that the other person will listen.
My granddaughter has always had some quirks, but she and her husband now believe that vaccinations are bad for children. They vaccinated their 6-year-old daughter but not their 2-year-old son.
Even if they've decided it's safe for their kids, I have to worry about them carrying diseases around me.
As a senior, I realize my health is more vulnerable than the average person's. Seeing my great-grandchildren is worth the health risk, even if it's a little unnerving.
On the other hand, listening to my family talk about their beliefs makes me worried about how commonplace these ideas are. I know that this sentiment is on the rise, and there are many new stories about sicknesses that had almost disappeared coming back again.
Knowing that I can't count on herd immunity anymore, what can I do to protect myself?
A: The vaccination debate is getting more heated and seems unlikely to disappear in the near future. Unfortunately, this puts seniors at particular risk due to weaker immune systems.
However, you can take preventative actions.
Recently, health officials in Rockland County, NY declared a state of emergency due to a measles outbreak. Looking to the county's response, we can see some potential ways to protect ourselves.
Public places such as parks, malls and religious facilities can be a hotbed of disease due to the constant flow of people moving through. If you know of a local outbreak, avoid high-traffic places when possible.