The first week of December is National Hand Washing Awareness Week for good reason. December is a month that is notorious for illness; from the flu to the common cold, doctor offices and hospitals are full of people with a viral infection. While these conditions are very common, they are preventable. Hand washing can be a senior’s greatest defense against these ailments. Reminding seniors to wash their hands prior to preparing meals and after using the restroom can greatly reduce the possibility of them becoming ill. Demonstrations and reminders are also effective ways to help seniors remember to wash their hand.
Helping Seniors Wash Their Hands Effectively
Experts recommend singing “Happy Birthday” while washing your hands to ensure you are washing for at least 15 seconds. This is a great method to use to help seniors to remember how long they should wash their hands. Demonstrating to seniors how to rub their hands together and how to wash the entire surface of their hands, between their fingers and under the nails is more effective than telling them how to wash their hands. These areas often carry the most germs and are the hardest to clean.
Some seniors need help keeping their nails trimmed, which also helps to create effective hand washing. For example, seniors with Diabetes, or those who take blood thinners such as Aspirin or Coumadin should talk to their doctors about having a nurse or specially trained caregiver help them with this task. A senior with difficulty seeing, or with tremors (shaking) in their hands, are at risk for cutting the skin around their nails. A cut in their skin will increase your chances of infection, especially around the nails where germs collect. Assistance will help to prevent a break in the skin.
Scented Moisturizing Lotions Help Seniors to Remember to Wash their Hands
Who does not love to smell marvelous? With all of the hand washing you are asking seniors to do, dry skin can become an issue. The perfect way to solve this problem is to have them use a scented hand lotion after they finish washing their hands. The cold and dry air of the season is not forgiving to unprotected skin. Encouraging seniors to moisturize their hands with lotion after they wash their hands will help prevent dry and cracking skin, especially in the winter months when the air is cold and dry. Advising your senior to take the time to wash and moisturize their hands, and providing help to trim their nails can help to create a happy and healthy winter. Remember, seniors feel awesome when they know they have independently done a self-care task. Good hygiene habits can start at any age.
If you or someone you know needs help with elder care in Comstock, MI contact the caregivers at Gauthier Family Home Care. We provide quality and affordable home care for many disabled and elderly loved ones in our community. Call us at (616) 658-2300 for more information.
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