Flu Prevention - Safeguards for Seniors

Senior Care flu/cold prevention

With the warmer weather starting to pick up in many places across the country it seems that it’s that time of year again for the germs to start flying. Flu season can be extremely dangerous for seniors and children, with the common cold or flu often leading to a myriad of health issues. In the 2017-2018 season around 80,000 people died of the flu in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Children and seniors both have weaker immune systems, so having a plan in place to help prevent flu transmission is key to reducing the amounts of hospitalizations and sickness that is experienced by these two age groups. Seniors in particular can suffer greatly from the flu, with mortality rates being rather high and the potential for further complications possible. Many seniors can go on to develop potentially life threatening issues such as pneumonia as a result of contracting the flu, so here are some key ways to help reduce potential germ spreading.

Wash Hands Regularly

Washing your hands regularly is a key way to stop the transmission of diseases and germs. Wash using soap and warm water, washing backs of the hands and in between fingers thoroughly as well. Antibacterial soap is ideal to help stop the spread of infection, and you can follow it up with wearing gloves to help keep things as sterile as possible when working with clients.

Use General Manners With Sneezing/Coughing

If you’re sick and around clients (or just anyone!), use common sense and manners by sneezing into the crook of your arm to keep hands clean and to prevent the transmission of germs or use tissues, covering your mouth and nose when coughing/sneezing and the like. Too many people cough or sneeze on surfaces, their hands or even other people which propels the transmission of viruses to a high degree. Be a part of the solution. Cover your mouth.

Just Stay Home

Are you sick? Just stay home! Many people believe that they owe it to the company or themselves to continue to go into work when deathly ill with a cold or flu, but nothing comes of it except spreading it around. Staying home will ensure you don’t spread germs to potentially fragile people.

Use Antibacterial Wipes and Gel

Antibacterial wipes and gel are great for helping to kill off bacteria that cause viruses such as colds and flu. Use after washing your hands and regularly throughout the day to help prevent the spread of sickness. Wipes can be used to clean off surfaces that the client touches regularly to help ensure they don’t come into contact with germs or bacteria that could cause them to get ill.

Caregiving Crisis

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around”.  -Leo Buscaglia

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around”.

-Leo Buscaglia

When it comes to caregiving, it seems a staggering amount of people across the country are either the primary caregiver to a relative or one of the primary caregivers, often sharing the responsibility between siblings and other family members. While caregiving for a relative can sound like it shouldn’t affect employee productivity and absenteeism in the workplace, it does and it costs companies millions of dollars a year in lost productivity and missed days. It stands to reason therefore, that employers give some kind of benefit for employees to use in order to lessen the stress of caregiving, but do they?

A recent study done by the Harvard School of business suggests that while almost 80% of employees cite caregiving service referrals as being a preferred and highly important work benefit, only around 38% of employers state they would consider this as a viable part of their employee benefits plan. Add to this the fact that over 90% of employers have noted the correlation between talent retention and a subsidized care home benefits option, yet fewer than 10% of companies offer such a benefit.

Despite the clear indication that employee retention in a number of situations is dependent on adequate coverage and care of a relative at home, employers seem reluctant to provide subsidized care referrals as part of employee work benefits. In the cases that they do, it’s often found that employees aren’t made aware of just what types of benefits surrounding care are available, leading to huge numbers of workers leaving the organisation to provide care for family in the home themselves.

With the costs of home care rising and many employers not providing options in terms of benefits for their employees, many organisations are seeing a high rate of turnover and a lack of loyalty to the company, resulting in high costs associated with talent loss and the need to train new employees. Studies show that, financially speaking, a loss of talent is almost equal to or more than the cost of providing a home care benefit of some kind.

Ultimately, with more and more Americans being burdened by care struggles as the baby booming generation reach senior years, more employers are going to have to provide services surrounding support groups, information seminars and other moral and financial support to those caregiving employees if they expect to retain their current employers as well as bolster company and organization loyalty.

Reducing Senior Fear About Home Care

It’s no secret that many seniors fear home care and the concept of having a stranger look after them throughout the day while their children or relatives are at work or run errands. It can definitely be a serious concern for those seniors who are sensitive or fearful naturally, but many people (especially seniors) aren’t keen on the idea of someone they don’t know being in their home, even with the best of intentions.

 Reducing senior fear about home care is key to a successful working relationship as well as higher quality service in terms of care. After all, a senior who doesn’t want a home care worker could act out or make the job much harder than it has to be.

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Helping seniors get over the fear of home care can be done in a few ways.

  •  Discuss with their family members the concept of them staying with you for the first few days or week until the senior gets used to you.

  • Do fun things with them (if possible)

  • Allow them to get to know you through asking questions or chatting.

  •  If they’re able bodied, allow them to supervise or watch you work.

  •   Explain to them your role and how you’re there to help them.

There are many other ways you can help ease a senior’s worries about strangers being in their home. Have a chat with their relatives and loved ones and see what solutions you can come up with together to ensure a stress free experience for everyone.

 

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