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5 Tips for Helping Your Aging Loved One Through Flu Season

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Getting the flu can be painful and inconvenient, and it can also cause illnesses to worsen and become life-threatening. Seniors need to practice good hygiene and take various steps that could lower the risk of serious infections, helping them stay safe during the winter months. Continue reading to learn about five things you can to do help your aging loved one prepare for flu season.

1. Encourage Your Loved One to Get a Flu Shot

Getting a flu shot is one of the most proactive steps seniors can take to decrease their odds of developing the flu, and it can also safeguard against other complications that occur due to this type of infection. Although seniors can get this shot at any time during the fall and winter months, it’s best to have the shot administered at the beginning of flu season.

2. Disinfect the Home

Clean your loved one’s home thoroughly during flu season to get rid of harmful toxins as well as bacteria that could cause infections. After conducting a thorough cleaning, disinfect the home at least once per day in the winter months. Spraying surfaces and areas your loved one and his or her guests touch frequently could prevent the flu. Items to focus on include remotes, keys, doorknobs, phones, refrigerator handles, and computers. Sanitizing can reduce the number of germs spread throughout your loved one’s home.

It might be difficult for some seniors to maintain these high levels of disinfection throughout the height of the flu season. Every senior has different needs when aging in place. Some simply need occasional assistance with household chores, while others may be managing a serious illness and require more extensive live-in care. Birmingham seniors can count on Home Care Assistance to provide the in-home care they need and deserve.

3. Keep Soaps and Sanitizers Nearby

If your loved one goes outdoors for even a few minutes, he or she should wash his or her hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap after coming inside. Washing the hands rids the body of germs that could lead to the flu and other serious infections. If seniors don’t wash their hands, they could pass the germs on to other items and objects within the home, such as cooking utensils, furniture, and personal hygiene products. Seniors should also carry hand sanitizers with them to remove germs while out in public spaces.

4. Discourage Spending Time with People Who Are Ill

The flu is a parasitic virus that travels through the air in small droplets that can potentially fly within three feet of others, contaminating the air they breathe. It’s okay to ask family and friends to stay away from your home while they’re sick. Being in contact with contaminated people increases the risk of developing the flu. Educate your loved one on what to do if he or she encounters sick individuals in public. For instance, when your loved one notices someone with a cold, nose tickle, or flu, make sure he or she knows to put distance between him or her and that individual. 

If it’s your loved one’s caregiver who gets the flu, you may need to call on professional help until the infection has passed. If you’re the primary caregiver for a senior family member and you need respite care, Birmingham, AL, Home Care Assistance is here to help. Our respite caregivers are trained to assist older adults with a wide variety of everyday tasks, including meal prep, physical activity, and personal hygiene. We also provide 24-hour care and specialized care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.

5. Keep Windows Shut

In some places, the temperatures can be warm during flu season, causing older adults to prop their doors and windows open. It’s never a good idea to keep the windows open during flu season. Cracking the windows in cars or homes could circulate infected air. During the winter months, the flu virus’s outer coating can harden, allowing it to stay viable while passing between people.

Helping our loved ones stay healthy is always a priority, and cold and flu season can pose extra problems for the seniors we love. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality home care. Birmingham families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably. To talk to one of our Care Managers, call (205) 438-6927 today.