No one likes having a cold, but this common bug is especially an issue for elderly people, as it may take them longer than others to get over the illness. If your elderly parent is living in an assisted living facility, you know that he or she is getting top-notch care — but also that cold bugs might be present in the home due to the number of residents and visitors. There are a number of things that you can do to help your parent reduce his or her risk of contracting a cold. For example, you may wish to remind your parent to wash his or her hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer many times throughout the day. Here are some other things that you can do.
Control Who Visits
Each time your family plans to visit your elderly parent, consider everyone's overall health. If someone is showing signs of coming down with a cold, ask that he or she stays home. Cold germs can be highly contagious, and it's possible for your parent to contract the germs over the course of even a short visit. If you're coordinating visits with other people — perhaps friends or neighbors are contacting you to see if they can visit your parent — don't be shy about enforcing the no-colds rule.
Proper hydration is valuable in an individual's effort to fight off a cold, so make sure that your elderly parent is drinking enough. You may wish to consider taking some bottles of water to his or her room at the assisted living facility, as well as seeing if there's room to plug in a small fridge if your parent prefers cold water. You can also talk to the staff at the facility to ask if they can deliver water to your parent's room more regularly, which is especially valuable if you're concerned that your parent may forget to get water.
Wipe Down The Surfaces
It's always a good idea to wipe down any commonly used surfaces when you visit your parent at the assisted living facility. This is especially true if the cold bug is going around. Pack some disinfectant wipes and treat the door knobs, light switches, TV remote control, chair handles, and any other places that you believe people may touch frequently. This way, if fellow residents who may be suffering from the cold bug visit your parent, their germs will be cleaned up.