Senior citizens, or anyone above 60 years of age, generally tend to have lower immunity than youngsters. You may want to protect your parents and grandparents but might be wondering how to. Don’t worry! Just follow these simple, easy-to-take preventive steps to keep infections and germs away from them and let them enjoy their golden years in good health.
1) Personal Hygiene
It is a great idea to wash your hands properly before you or other family members help your elders. All you need to do is use soap and water, or an alcohol-based sanitiser such as those available from Lifebuoy.
When coughing or sneezing, use a tissue or your elbow to cover your mouth (if a tissue is not available at the time). Discard the tissue in the dustbin before you help the elders with medicines, walking, food, etc.
Also, give gentle reminders to your elders to follow these basic hygiene habits too.
If you have hired help, like ward boys or maids, especially for elders, ensure they, too, follow these hygiene habits before lending a helping hand.
2) Surfaces in Your Elder’s Room
Germs can travel up to 3 feet after a sneeze, spreading unwanted infections, and rest on different surfaces around the home. Hence, an important step towards protecting your elders is to clean and disinfect all the surfaces in their room, daily. This means surfaces touched frequently by them, such as their side table, wheelchair, walker, spectacles, phone, books, medicine box, support handles, etc. It is good to not only clean but also disinfect these surfaces once a day. Also, clean and disinfect high-touch common surfaces outside of their room like switches, door handles, tables, bath fittings, toilet seats, telephones, laptops, etc. that are also used by the rest of the family.
You can clean all these surfaces with a regular household detergent and water. After cleaning, you can disinfect them for better hygiene. Use a suitable disinfectant, like a bleach-based (sodium hypochlorite) product such as Domex Floor Cleaner, which kills germs. Always test on a small hidden area and rinse to check compatibility first.
Not just surfaces, even clothes can retain germs. A thorough wash is the simplest way to ensure your elders’ clothes are clean and germ-free. Washing clothes thoroughly with detergent is good enough to remove germs. You can also use a bleach (sodium hypochlorite) like Rin Ala for sheets and clothes. Rin Ala being a sodium hypochlorite bleach is recommended to use on white clothes only. Do not use on coloured clothes. And remember to wear gloves when handling bleach.
If using a washing machine, wash clothes using the appropriate water temperature setting, in accordance with the directions on the labels of laundry or clothing items. Ensure that the clothes are dried in the sun before folding and storing them.
4) Personal Household Items
It is suggested that everyone in the family use separate plates, glasses, cups, spoons etc. This will help avoid sharing germs, along with food! Also, wash all these utensils and crockery thoroughly with a good dishwash detergent. For other households/ personal items like elders’ dentures, spectacles, spectacle cases, prayer bags, etc., use soap and water and disinfect after each use.
Follow these simple steps around your parents and grandparents and keep them safe from infections.