5 Steps to Help Aging Adults Ward off the Common Cold

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5 Ways to Prevent Seniors from Getting the Common Cold This Winter

By Mark Febus, 9:00 am on December 21, 2016

Dry air, cold temperatures, and a greater number of people spending time indoors together can all contribute to higher cold infection rates during winter. Dayton senior in-home care professionals suggest helping your elderly loved one prevent a cold with these 5 methods.

1. Wash Hands Regularly

The importance of washing hands cannot be overemphasized. Seniors often catch colds after touching a contaminated surface and then touching their food, eyes, or mouth. Encourage your loved one to wash his or her hands thoroughly with warm water and an antibacterial soap for at least twenty seconds to prevent germ transfer.

2. Consume Foods with Probiotics

The beneficial probiotic bacteria found in sauerkraut, yogurt, kimchi, and some pickles can help fight the bad germs your loved one accidentally ingests. According to a 2015 study done by Dr. Qiukui Hao, a senior can cut his or her risk of upper respiratory infections in almost half by eating food rich in probiotics.

3. Get More Sleep

Common sense suggests people are more likely to get sick if they are tired, and science confirms this theory. A 2012 study by Dr. Jan Born found disease-fighting T-cell counts drop dramatically when people do not get enough sleep because their endocrine levels become imbalanced. Seniors who have insomnia should try to sleep at the same time every night and avoid looking at television or phone screens before going to bed.

4. Increase Zinc Intake

Zinc may not be mentioned as often as vitamin C when discussing immune system boosters, but this mineral is essential for building disease-fighting white blood cells. Give your loved one spinach, beef, kidney beans, and oatmeal to increase his or her zinc intake.

5. Clean Places with Germs

Cold viruses usually live on hard surfaces for several hours, increasing the chances of your loved one catching infections. Using an antibacterial cleaner, wipe down any germ-gathering places a lot of people have touched recently. Doorknobs, remote controls, sink faucets, telephones, and refrigerator handles frequently harbor cold viruses.

Encourage your loved one to take these measures to prevent the common cold this winter. If your loved one needs help taking care of his or her health, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading name in elder in-home care. Our live-in and respite caregivers are trained to provide your loved one with the encouragement and support he or she needs to remain healthy and accomplish daily tasks. We also provide specialized Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia care Dayton families can rely on. Call 937-353-7997 to learn more about our elder care services and how they can be customized to meet your loved one’s unique needs.

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