Winter time is perhaps the worst time of year in nursing homes and assisted living facilities due to the high number of colds and flus that are common among seniors. Much like school systems and hospitals, senior care facilities are often a breeding ground for germs and this becomes more and more likely as we enter the winter months.
The problem with the flu and other illnesses for seniors is that they can often take a toll on an immune system much more than they can with a younger person. While many times the senior flu simply cannot be avoided there are ways to help seniors avoid spreading or getting illnesses by being careless. With that being said, here are our top flu tips for seniors.
Wash and Sanitize: Hand sanitizer is perhaps one of the greatest nursing home aids of the last 20 years. While washing hands also works very well, many germs are transmitted through touching faucets, door knobs and bathroom sinks while one is washing their hands. We recommend that seniors stock up on sanitizer during the winter months as this is by far the #1 flue tip for seniors that we endorse.
Eat Good Food: One of the easiest flu tips for seniors that we recommend is to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables that they eat over the winter. Adding a fruit to one’s morning cereal and vegetables as snacks throughout the day is an easy way to not only improve your immunity versus sickness, but also to better one’s health.
Keep Your Hands to Yourself: Many seniors are very active in the way they touch people in their family. Hugs, handshakes and even touching arms are best avoided during flu season, especially if you are around someone that works in a high germ area such as a school or hospital. For loved ones this can be hard, but wearing gloves or just waving to loved ones can save days of agony that come with the flu.
Avoid Visitors: For those seniors that live in nursing homes and long term care facilities the highlight of their stays are often the times that they are visited by families and friends. While it is important to stay in touch, we recommend avoiding excessive visitors during this time, especially smaller children who are susceptible of carrying the flu virus due to not washing their hands correctly or touching things that they shouldn’t. If you do decide to have visitors, it is best to have them visit and stay a few feet away after washing their hands and sanitizing.
Avoid Unnecessary Trips: Many nursing homes and senior centers often have various trips and events that are planned around the holiday season. Plays, musicals and trips to the shopping mall are some of the most common “getaways” for seniors during the holiday season. While it is great to get away from your facility every so often, we recommend avoiding any unnecessary trips to germ filled areas such as large musical events and school functions such as plays.
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