One of the best ways to keep your senior healthy is one of the easiest – consistent and thorough hand washing, not only for your senior but for all visitors as well, including family members, service providers, and his home care assistance team.
While many people remember to wash their hands after actions such as using the bathroom or preparing raw meat, microbes can linger anywhere in the home (and beyond) such as door knobs, walls, and hand railings. Anytime your elderly loved one goes out or has someone come into his home that’s been out in public, the first course of action should be a washing of all hands, no matter what his current health status is.
Here are just a few of the activities that your loved one and those who are interacting with him should always wash their hands after performing:
- Taking out the garbage.
- Preparing any type of food – whether it’s prepping snacks for later, or frying up a bunch of meat for different dishes. Even if it’s putting away food that was just purchased from the grocery store.
- Anytime a visitor comes to the home. If your loved one has a home care assistance provider who comes to the home, that person should wash their hands as soon as they enter the home and your loved one should wash his hands as soon as they leave.
- Before eating a meal or having a snack.
- Anytime someone in the home is sick and needs care, hand-washing should go up a notch as well as using disinfectant spray on hard surfaces.
- If your loved one is injured and has a scrape or open cut, anyone who helps him clean the area and apply a bandage should wash their hands before and after.
- After using the toilet.
- After coughing, sneezing, and blowing the nose. If your loved one has a bad cold where he’s constantly blowing his nose, then make sure he washes his hands before he starts any other activity.
- No matter how much your loved one loves his dog or cat, he should always wash his hands after touching his pet, handling pet food, and picking up pet waste.
Washing hands is a great way to eliminate bacteria and filth from the hands, but it also needs to be done correctly to provide the necessary amount of protection.
Here is a reminder of how to practice safe hand-washing.
- First, get hands wet and then apply the soap.
- Lather up the soap by rubbing hands together. Make sure the lather gets between fingers, under the nails, and up the wrists.
- Continue to scrub with the lather for at least 20 seconds. Humming “Happy Birthday to me” twice can be a good way to gauge the time of lathering and scrubbing.
- Rinse hands well under water that is neither too cold nor too hot.
- Dry hands well, getting all areas completely dry.
You may need to remind guests who visit about how important hand washing is to keep your loved one healthy, but it will help keep him and his visitors in good health.