Infection Control and Prevention for Seniors: Key Strategies for a Safe Environment

An older woman washes her hands to help with infection control and prevention.
For vulnerable senior loved ones, infection control and prevention are essential during cold and flu season.

As summer comes to a close and children head back to school that means one thing — cold and flu season is right around the corner. While the pandemic heightened our awareness of infection control and prevention, viruses will still spread. That’s why it is important to ensure that older loved ones, particularly those with compromised immune systems, stay safe from infection.

What Are Common Infections Among Older Adults?

Many older adults are managing at least one, if not multiple, chronic illnesses. This can make them especially vulnerable to infections of all kinds. Some of the most common infections among seniors include:

  • Shingles and other skin infections such as staph and MRSA
  • Common cold
  • Influenza
  • Bacterial pneumonia
  • COVID-19

Because older loved ones are so susceptible, infection control is vital to help prevent illness. Using proven infection control and prevention methods like those listed below can help families protect older loved ones:

  • Get vaccinated: There are a number of safe and reliable vaccines that help prevent or greatly decrease the risk of infection from multiple illnesses. Older adults should consider getting immunized against the flu, shingles, pneumonia, and COVID-19.
  • Keep surfaces clean: When people cough or sneeze, their germs are spread into the air. These germs and bacteria settle and linger on surfaces, such as countertops, sinks, etc. Make sure to sanitize all surfaces of the home and clean up spills promptly. Also, consider keeping hand sanitizer or cleansing cloths with you when going out to eat.
  • Mask up: During the COVID-19 pandemic, most of us learned how beneficial masking can be in preventing the spread of illness. During cold and flu season, consider masking up when in enclosed, crowded spaces such as the grocery store or doctor’s office.
  • Wash hands: The single best defense against spreading germs and infections. Make sure older loved ones, family members visiting, and caregivers follow proper hand washing techniques, including washing with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, be sure to use hand sanitizer. According to the CDC, hands should be washed:
    • Before and after food preparation
    • Before and after eating
    • Before and after treating a cut, sore, or wound
    • After using the toilet or changing soiled clothing or bed linens
    • Before and after caring for a sick person
    • After touching an animal, its food, or waste
    • After blowing your nose, sneezing, or coughing
    • After handling trash

How Can Home Care Help With Infection Control and Prevention?

The professional care team at Nightingale Homecare can help prevent infections in a variety of ways such as:

  • Providing light housekeeping services, including sanitizing surfaces in the home
  • Ensuring older adults keep up with proper hand washing both in and outside the home
  • Safely prepping, preparing and cleaning up after meals
  • Assisting with daily hygiene, including bathing and dressing
  • Monitoring for changes in health
  • And much more

Our caregivers are specially trained in preventing and controlling infections. We take great care to maintain a safe and healthy environment for each client we serve. To learn more about our in-home care services in Paradise Valley, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and the surrounding areas, and how we can help your loved ones, contact us online or give us a call at (602) 903-6793.