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Home Care Tips: Preventing Infections in Elders

Elder Care in Buffalo MN

International Infection Prevention Week begins October 18 in order to spread the word on the dangers of infections and how they can be prevented. The age group that are more prone to getting Elder-Care-Buffalo-MNserious infections is the elder demographic due to a weak immune system, functional changes to their bodies, and lengthy stays in the hospital. According to the AAFP, infectious diseases account for one third of all deaths of people over the age of 65. The common cold and the flu can even lead to life-threatening infections among elders. As the caregiver of someone receiving in-home care, you can prevent them from contracting a fatal infection by following these tips.

  • Skincare: As we age, the skin becomes thinner, making it much easier for pathogens to enter the skin. If your loved one needs assistance with bathing, make sure you are also thoroughly cleaning in the folds in order to remove any bacteria or germs that may be hiding.
  • Vaccines: The flu, pneumonia, and shingles are far more serious health conditions among the elderly than it is of children or young adults. Getting vaccines against infectious illnesses could be life-saving for seniors. For example, the pneumococcal vaccine has been shown to reduce the chances of getting bacterial pneumonia by up to 80 percent, while influenza vaccines have greatly reduced the chances of elders getting the flu by between 30 and 70 percent.
  • Limit the use of urinary catheters: Urinary catheters have been linked to urinary tract infections (UTI). According to the Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, urinary catheters accounts for about 40 percent of life-threatening septicemia. Discuss with your loved one’s doctor over how long the catheter should be in place and when it should be changed. Also, communicate this plan with the elder’s nurse to ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • Frequently wash hands: As the senior care provider for your loved one, you will constantly be assisting them with everyday activities, including brushing their teeth, bathing, dressing, and toileting. Most infections caught by elders are caused from hand-to-hand contact, so it is important to wash your hands frequently as you assist your loved one. Carrying hand sanitizer with you when leaving the house is also an excellent idea to kill any infection-causing germs on the spot.

Common Infections Among the Elderly
By following the previous tips to prevent infections among elders and knowing what infections may be caught by your loved one, the chances of have a better quality of life will be much higher. Here are some of the most common infections found in adults over 65:

  • Urinary tract infections: As mentioned, the use of catheters, as well as being diabetic, contribute to an increased risk of UTI.
  • Skin infections: A senior’s skin heals much slower than that of younger generations, making the skin more prone to getting infected.
  • Bacterial pneumonia: Exposure to disease in hospitals, a change in lung capacity, and increased susceptibility due to other medical conditions will all increase the chances of getting bacterial pneumonia.
  • Influenza: Influenza is easily contracted by seniors because it can easily be transmitted through coughs or sneezes, as well as being in close proximity to someone with this illness.

Infections among the aging population, especially those getting elder care, is a common occurrence, yet can be prevented. With this information, you will be able to provide a higher quality of life for your loved one.

If you or someone you know needs elder care in Buffalo, MN, contact Prairie River Home Care. We provide quality and affordable home care services for many fragile or senior members in the communities we serve. Call us at (888) 660-5772 for more information.

Parentgiving. “Preventing Infections in the Elderly.”

Kunin, Calvin M. International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents. “Urinary-catheter-associated infections in the elderly.” 11 Jul 2006.

Lori Seeman

Lori Seemann has a background in nurse management, hands-on critical care and business management. Her clinical expertise and knowledge of information systems had been instrumental in ensuring operational consistency in all branch offices. She led efforts that resulted in implementation of a new home care computer system that is utilized for staffing, scheduling, clinical records and billing. Lori continues to seek opportunities to improve caregiver productivity through nurse utilization of a unique point of care laptop computer system.