How to Protect the Elderly from Contracting the Flu

February 19th, 2015 by John Wilson

Ask what senior care services are available to prevent flu.

Senior care services can help prevent the spread of flu.

With winter in full swing, cold and flu symptoms are common, especially among those who reside in assisted living for the elderly. Like with other public institutions, such as schools and hospitals, facilities that provide senior care services are hotspots for germs, a factor that only intensifies as the winter season begins.

While the flu can affect anyone, young or old, it tends to take an even greater toll on the immune systems of seniors. Though the spread of the flu cannot be avoided entirely, here are some ways to limit exposure to germs and ward off potential illness.

Wash and Sanitize Hands Often

Keeping your hands clean is a key step in preventing the spread of germs from the flu or otherwise. Touching doorknobs, faucets and bathroom sinks during or immediately after washing your hands can compromise all the germ-fighting work you just did so it’s a good idea to use hand sanitizer often in addition to washing with warm water and anti-bacterial soap. Always remember to cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze and sanitize hands after.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

This step is an important one, not just during flu season but year-round. Eating healthy foods and drinking plenty of fluids keep your immune system at its strongest, increasing its ability to fight off illness. Adding more fruits and vegetables to your daily diet is an easy way to maintain your health in all seasons.

Don’t Touch

Though being affectionate with friends and family through hugs, kisses and handshakes is crucial to your emotional and social health, it might actually do more harm than good during flu season. It may be difficult to limit embraces during these winter months, but avoiding too close of contact with those who show symptoms of the flu can save you from illness later. Avoiding contact with your own face, particularly your eyes, nose and mouth, can also prevent the spread of germs.

Limit Visitors

Seniors in assisted living for the elderly often get many visitors throughout the week, whether from family, friends or other loved ones. These visits are certainly uplifting and the highlight of many seniors’ days, but it may be best to keep the visitors to a minimum during flu season. For the same reason, avoiding close contact with too many people is an important factor in preventing the spread of flu germs, as is limiting the amount of visiting that is done.

Keep Trips to a Minimum

Many assisted living homes plan trips and events for their residents, especially around the holiday season. While it’s a treat to get away from your facility every so often, to take in a play, movie or trip to the mall, keeping these outings to a minimum could decrease your chances of contracting the flu.

Start off the new year flu-free and feeling your best. With these preventive tips, you’ll be well on your way to warding off germs and keeping yourself healthy this flu season.

If you are ready to look into senior care services for you or a loved one, the Village at Oakwood assisted living provides caring homes for the elderly in Oklahoma City. Contact us and learn about our individualized services, designed to meet all your needs.

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