4 Tips to Keep Your Senior Healthy this Winter
There are significant health risks during winter months, and for some groups of people such as the elderly, cold and flu season can be a very dangerous time.
Those who are concerned about their health or the health of seniors in their care should follow these four health tips to prevent sickness during the winter months.
Wash Hands Frequently
Clean hands are the first line of defense against germs during cold and flu season. Hands should be washed with soap and warm water several times throughout the day and night:
- Before and after meals
- Before and after trips to the store
- Before and after using the restroom
- Before and after doctor visits
- After coughing or sneezing
Hand sanitizers, either in the form of gels or wipes, should be kept on hand and used anytime one leaves the house. They could also be used conveniently throughout the day at home to avoid having to get up and use the restroom faucet every single time.
Sanitize Everyday Touchpoints
Hands pick up a lot of germs throughout the day and spread them to various points around the house. Door knobs, light switches, faucet handles, cabinet knobs, steering wheels, and car door handles are all frequently touched several times per day, so they should be sanitized at least once per day to minimize the spread of germs.
Canes and wheelchairs should also be sanitized regularly, as should TV remotes and cell phones.
Limit Exposure to Sick People
One very important strategy to protect the health of seniors during this time of year is to limit exposure to people who are sick or who have been in contact with other people who are sick. In a senior care facility, residents who are sick should take steps to isolate themselves from the rest of the community until symptoms are completely gone. But visitors can also pose a potential health problem.
School children and their parents are particularly vulnerable to contracting viruses and spreading them to seniors, so anyone who has been sick or has been around a sick person should wait at least a week or two after symptoms subside before visiting elderly loved ones.
Boost Immune System
Boosting the immune system is another effective safeguard against cold viruses and flu viruses for seniors. Multivitamin packs specifically designed to boost immunity should be taken daily, as should vitamin C and zinc supplements.
Eat fresh fruits and vegetables daily, and consume plenty of fluids throughout the day to promote proper hydration. Hot soups and stews are another good choice during winter.
Lastly, one of the most important steps for safeguarding both those in senior care communities and those receiving in-home care is to receive flu shots at the beginning or just prior to every flu season.
The winter months bring many potential health hazards for seniors, but by following these four health tips and promoting good hygiene, seniors sidestep these health risks and stay illness-free for the entire season.