Coronavirus has everyone understandably concerned these days. It can be especially worrisome for both seniors and family caregivers. For older adults, this virus is risky because aging immune systems are less capable of handling new challenges. If you’re a family caregiver, your own health is equally important, since you’ll be in regular contact with an older loved one in need of care. Below, you’ll find tips you and your loved one should keep in mind to minimize issues with viruses, bacteria, and other harmful microorganisms (pathogens).
Wash HandsHand hygiene is one of the simplest and most effective ways to protect against exposure to viruses and bacteria that can affect the immune system. The CDC recommends using soap and water and washing hands for a minimum of 20 seconds. The common advice for timing 20 seconds is to sing the “Happy Birthday” song. When washing hands, don’t forget the fingernails. Also, jewelry on fingers and wrists should be removed, since germs can gather on such items. If your loved one needs help following healthy habits that can protect his or her immune system, a home caregiver can be a wonderful source of support. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of homecare. Galt Ocean Mile families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
Practice Good Cough/Sneeze EtiquetteBecause coronavirus is highly transmittable, seniors and caregivers are advised to get into the habit of coughing and sneezing into their elbows or using a tissue when one is handy. If the hand is used to cover the mouth, hands should be washed immediately afterward.
Be Safe with Medical InjectionsIf injections are needed for medical reasons, the spread of germs can be minimized by taking precautions, which means using one needle and one syringe per injection. Do this for your loved one if you regularly help with injections, which may be the case if your loved one needs insulin to control diabetes.
Sanitize SurroundingsViruses and bacteria are invisible to the eye and easily spreadable, especially on surfaces that are commonly touched. This method of transfer can be reduced by regularly cleaning surfaces like countertops and tables that are frequently touched. Properly sanitize surfaces by:
- Dipping a clean cloth in distilled white vinegar (undiluted)
- Mixing half a cup of baking soda with a quart of water to make your own abrasive cleaner if you don’t have a cleaning product handy
- Rinsing the counter with a clean damp cloth when done