Handwashing is one of the easiest and best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Learn when and how to wash your hands to stay healthy.
Wash Your Hands Often to Stay Healthy
You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs:
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
Follow Five Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way
Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community—from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.
Follow these five steps every time.
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
July 1 commemorates the joining of Canada’s original three provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Canada province, which is now Ontario and Quebec) as one nation in 1867. On July 1, 1867, Canada became a self-governing dominion of Great Britain and a federation of provinces. The anniversary of this date was called Dominion Day (for the Dominion of Canada in the British empire) until 1982. Since 1983, July 1 has been officially known as Canada Day.
Since 1958, the government has arranged for an annual celebration of Canada’s Birthday where originally the Canadian Secretary of State was in charge of the Co-ordination of events. The format of trooping of the colours on the lawn at Parliament Hill, a sunset ceremony, and live band with fireworks was the main order of the day. However since 1980 seed money has been distributed by the government of Canada and now popular and amateur activities are organised in hundreds of communities by volunteer groups to mark the day. The sovereign Queen Elizabeth 2nd has attended many times including the Canada Day centennial.
Typically, Canada Day is celebrated with fireworks, concerts, cookouts, and sports games. Canada’s capital, Ottawa, Ontario, hosts tens of thousands, and countless events and festivals to be found throughout the city in the city streets, parks, and museums. Fireworks are launched from Parliament Hill to conclude a day of patriotic festivities. Today, amid COVID-19 restrictions, No live fireworks, no star-studded concert on Parliament Hill, and no crowds of tourists: Canada’s official birthday celebrations on this year for the first time ever will be completely online. Although things are different, you can still show off your national pride on this 153rd birthday!
Stand Proud. Stay United. Be Safe.
Bathroom Safety Tips
Creating a safe home environment for senior citizens starts with the bathroom — the place where, for the elderly, most at-home accidents occur. Whether it’s a slip in the shower or tripping on the way to the restroom at night, falls and injuries are especially common in the bathroom. To improve bathroom safety at home, you need to know how to handle the hazards. Here are some important bathroom safety tips to help keep you or your loved ones safe.
- 1. INSTALL GRAB BARS Grab bars give you something to hold when you’re getting into and out of the shower. They also offer a way to catch yourself if you’re about to fall. Add grab bars and safety rails to the shower/ tub and near the toilet. Make sure they’re anchored well enough to support an adult’s weight.
- ADD NON-SKID SURFACES While skid-proof decals are a step in the right direction, they don’t cover the entire bathtub surface, so slips are still possible. Look instead for a mat that covers the surface of the bathtub floor. Likewise, you may want to add a mat with a rubber backing to the bathroom floor.
- PUT IN NIGHTLIGHTS For those middle-of-the-night trips back and forth to the bathroom, nightlights add illumination that can make all the difference between seeing your way safely to the restroom and tripping on something along the way.
- LOWER THE WATER TEMPERATURE Set the whole-house water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower so that an elderly person is less likely to get burned.
- PROVIDE SEATING Extended periods of standing to brush teeth, wash up for bed, etc., can be wearying to an elderly body. Add seating to the bathroom so a person can sit while getting ready. Likewise, consider adding a shower chair with a rigid back that allows for a seated position while showering.
- RAISE THE TOILET SEAT To prevent overexertion from having to go to the bathroom, add a raised toilet seat that makes sitting down and getting up much easier. For anyone with knee pain, hip pain, joint pain, etc., this can be a great, practical way to improve bathroom safety.
- HAVE ITEMS WITHIN REACH Whether it’s shampoo and conditioner easily reachable in the shower, or toothpaste and soap easy accessible at the sink, keep items in the places where you use them. This helps eliminate unnecessary reaching, searching and standing — and the potential for accidents that comes with them.
- PROVIDE SUPERVISION In some cases, the best and most important way to protect a senior citizen in the bathroom is through the care of a loved one. Whether it’s a relative, friend or home health aide, having someone nearby greatly reduces the chance of serious injury.
Being diagnosed with dementia is life altering, not only for the one who has the disease, but also their friends and family. Most people are overwhelmed with all the new precautions and information they are given at diagnosis. We’ve done the research for you to help make this difficult time just a bit easier. Here are some tips for caring for loved ones with dementia and memory care activities for seniors.
Try to Ease Frustrations
One of the side effects that is common with dementia is increased agitation and frustration. Mayo Clinic gives essential tips on how to help alleviate these side effects.
Make a daily routine- By maintaining a daily routine such as waking up and going to bed around the same time, this can help limit confusion among your loved one. Also, notice when your loved one is most alert and try to schedule doctors appointments or bathing during those times.
Be patient- Simple tasks may become longer than they used so make extra time when scheduling out your loved one’s day. And always try to be patient, you have to remember this is a difficult time for your loved one as well.
Give independence- Try to allow your loved one to do daily activities or tasks by themselves, or with little assistance, if they are able to. This can be done simply by laying out their clothes and having them dress themselves. This will help bring some normalcy to a difficult time.
Avoid napping- Your loved one may often be exhausted and want to lay down for a midday nap. Do not let them do this. This will disrupt their sleep cycle and leave them feeling restless at night. Perhaps try to recommend doing activities, such as going for a walk instead of taking a nap.
Give choices- Allow your loved one to make some of their own choices, however, be supervised by you. For example, give them two choices of outfits and they can choose one they want to wear. Or you can have them choose between going for a walk or playing a board game.
Seniors with dementia may often forget about activities they once used to love. As a caregiver, try your best to incorporate those activities back into their everyday life, as they can help stimulate their memory and emotional connections. Here are some activities your loved one can do:
- Read Books, Newspapers, Magazines
- Arts and Crafts
- Take long walks
- Sing and Dance
Make their environment as safe as possible
Dementia also affects one’s ability to make judgements and their problem solving skills. These losses can often lead to an increased chance in one being harmed if precautions aren’t taken. Mayo Clinic provides some guidelines to help ensure your loved one is protected while at home.
Try to prevent falls- Loss of stability can be common in dementia, therefore making extra precautions to avoid falls is highly recommended. Put handrails and grab bars in areas where your loved one may be prone to fall i.e. the bathroom, shower. Check out these home safety tips for seniors for seniors from Age Safe® Canada.
Install locks- Place locks on doors leading outside. This will help prevent your loved one from wandering off when you are not home or when you are in a different room. It is also important to place locks onto cabinets that contain items such as sharp utensils, alcohol, or medicine, that can cause harm to your loved one.
Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself
It is very important to not neglect yourself while caring for a loved one with dementia. HelpGuide notes to create a personal support plan so you don’t neglect your own health while caring for someone with dementia.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help- Reach out to family and friends if you are needing some help or simply just need a break. Try to schedule breaks throughout the day for time for yourself. Incorporate hobbies and activities that you enjoy into your daily routine to help boost your mood and health. It is also important to remember that you are not neglecting your loved one by taking care of yourself. You need to take care of yourself to better take care of your loved one.
Join a support group- It is integral to remember that you are not alone during this time. There are other caregivers out there who are willing to help and give tips and advice on caring for a loved one with dementia.
Plan your life outside of caregiving- Schedule time for your family. It can be easy to forget to spend time with family and friends while you are caring for a loved one with dementia. Make time and plan activities with your friends and family outside of caregiving to maintain your health.
Exercise- Try to exercise at least 30 minutes each day. Exercising can help increase endorphins, thus boost your mood throughout the day.
Relieve stress- Don’t bottle up all your stress. Talk to someone about what you are going through. This could be a friend, family member or a therapist.
Caring for a loved one with dementia can be scary and uncertain. But there are tips out there to help you alleviate some of the stress that comes along with being a caregiver, as well as help your loved one with their cognitive skills. Make sure to take extra precautions and to always make some time for yourself.
Melissa Andrews is the Content Marketing Strategist for Paradise Living Centers, an assisted living center for seniors with locations in Paradise Valley and Phoenix, Arizona. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and going on hiking trips with her siblings and cousins.
COVID-19 and Caregiving
COVID-19 has dramatically shifted daily life for many people around the world. Nobody is immune, and older adults and individuals with chronic health conditions are at higher risk of getting very sick from the Coronavirus. To protect vulnerable individuals, many nursing homes or assisted living facilities are banning outside visitors temporarily in hopes of limiting residents’ exposure to someone who may be infected with the virus. Additionally, many individuals who need care and are currently living in their own homes are feeling isolated and anxious about how to stay healthy and safe.
Caregiving is now taking center stage. With already more than 8 million family caregivers helping loved ones in Canada, experts expect the virus to increase the number of people providing short-term or long-term care to an older or aging loved one. Here’s some guidance to family caregivers with vulnerable family members, especially those who might be new to caregiving because of Coronavirus and its impacts on older populations.
Make it a team effort
While there may be one primary family caregiver, identify other family members, friends and neighbors who can check in or help with shopping and important errands. It’s important that the person you’re caring for doesn’t leave their home and stays out of public places.
Create a list with contact information of friends, family and services in your community that can help you perform key caregiving tasks. For example, find out if services such as Meals on Wheels can help deliver meals, or if there are other local services to help with food or medication delivery.
Inventory essential items
It’s important to figure out what you have so you can determine what you need. Inventory how much food, medication and basic supplies the person you’re caring for has currently. Then make a list of what you need and how often you need to replenish it. Many older individuals often keep minimal extras on hand because they are on a strict budget and are used to regular grocery or medication refills. If possible, help them have a two-week supply of food, water, house cleaning supplies, and medical equipment.
Get medications in order
If you don’t already have one, create a list of medications, medical contacts, and important information like allergies for easy access. If there are upcoming non-emergency, routine medical appointments, reschedule those or, if possible, switch to a virtual visit to receive telemedicine. Ask your pharmacist or health care provider if you’re able to have an extra 30-day supply of essential medications on hand. Don’t forget to stock up on over-the-counter medications like cough suppressants and fever-reducing drugs like acetaminophen.
With current social distancing recommendations, strict isolation will impact many older individuals. To keep connections strong, set up communication using a variety of technology such as FaceTime or Skype, smart speakers, or simply phone and text. Use these to stay connected with your caregiving team as well as your older or aging family members.
If your loved one lives in a long-term care facility, see if they have accommodations for online visits and how they plan to communicate with families. If they can’t support visits via technology, send in cards, letters, magazines, puzzles or other items you know your loved one would be grateful to receive. Talk with your facility management about the safest way to deliver items.
Maintain personal safety and self-care
In order to help slow the spread of Coronavirus, limit physical contact with others, stay in as much as you can and continue to follow guidelines from the Public Health Agency of Canada. While you are likely very focused on the person you’re caring for, it is essential to also care for yourself.
For high-risk individuals, such as those with dementia and underlying health conditions, consider having the primary caregiver self-isolate with the care recipient. Then, have a back-up plan if the primary caregiver becomes ill. It’s best to be proactive and not have to use plan B, rather than being caught off guard without options.
For more information and advice for caregiving and important considerations in light of COVID-19, visit https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/how-to-care-for-person-with-covid-19-at-home-advice-for-caregivers.html
Age Safe® Canada thanks all the EMS teams, nurses, doctors, support staff and caregivers working tirelessly on the front lines. We send prayers to all those in recovery and those who have lost a family member or loved one. We sincerely hope that your own social distancing or self/government mandated isolation is going as well as can be expected. How we choose to spend our time now will impact those around us, our families and our future, so let’s make the best of it. During times of adversity and change we all have an opportunity to learn, improve and grow stronger. Life is a one-time offer, use it well.
We are here to help you make a difference.
Age Safe® is a diverse membership of service providers, organizations, corporations and non-profits all committed to providing quality services to our aging demographic. We, in the Age Safe® community, have an opportunity to promote best practices and provide peace of mind (or at least less stress) for our clients, their families and caregivers. Our members, partners and certification graduates serve the most vulnerable population, in their homes and in care settings. This is a time when we must all respond, do things in ways we may not be used to, and lead by example.
On the bright side, there are many good things that could come from this massive social experiment, with personal and social hygiene possibly being one of the most important. Yes, washing your hands really can reduce the spread of not just this coronavirus, but influenza as well. Telehealth products and solutions will begin to take a bigger role in healthcare. Businesses and individuals might even get comfortable with video conferencing in ways that permanently reduce business travel, and perhaps some of these new hygiene habits will make us all a bit healthier in the long run. I am confident after this is over we will find new and creative ways to work, study, train, and live fully.
It’s often said, “change is the only constant”.
And this current situation won’t last forever.
Well known thought leader and best selling author and trainer Brendon Burchard, says, “Use this time to prepare yourself. Learn a new skill, position yourself for all the demand that will need to be filled when we get through this period. I don’t know what your goals are for the future, but please start learning right now. Go get online courses. Research, get books, mentors, new tools to win. Don’t mess around right now. What you do now will set you up for the long, long, long road ahead.” Now is the time to gain momentum both in your mission to serve others, and with gaining the knowledge and tools to grow.
Even as this pandemic is unprecedented in many of our lives, we are coming into a senior population explosion that is unprecedented in ALL of human history. If you are currently a senior services provider; consider taking 5-hours to better position yourself, earn a valuable certification and develop an additional business builder? The Senior Home Safety Specialist™ certification empowers professionals with actionable ways to better help educate clients, older adults and their family members on the serious issues of home safety, fall prevention, financial exploitation and personal safety. …use Code: “SAVE100” to save $100
If you are an entrepreneur wishing to engage this burgeoning market, the full Advisor Member Training and Coaching Program has been our premier training since 2015. This comprehensive package is designed for those looking to build and/or scale a business around Home Safety Assessments and Aging in Place Home Modifications. Targeted coaching offers the real life; best practices marketing strategies and client messaging many are looking for to effectively engage this growing market. …ask about scholarships
It is not a question of “if” we will have problems in life, that’s a given, we will. What stands us apart is how we work together to solve them. History shows we will find a solution and ultimately come out stronger, together.
We greatly appreciate your continued trust during this challenging time, and thank you sincerely for your efforts to keep our most vulnerable people safe and healthy. Let us know how we can help you and your team make a difference.
From our family to yours,
Age Safe® Live Well.
We are all in this together…please be kind to one another!
Since 2015 Age Safe® has trained professionals throughout North America, Europe and the Middle East. We have positioned ourselves as a training and consulting leader in the Aging in Place space with our Senior Home Safety Specialist™ certification. We have trained OT’s, PT’s, MD’s, RN’s, CNA’s, CSA’s, Family Caregivers, Care Managers, Social Workers, First Responders, College Professors, Entrepreneurs, Industry Executives, Home Care Agencies, Assisted Living Communities, Healthcare Networks, Realtors, Contractors, Remodelers, Home Inspectors, Handyman Services, Non-Profit and Fortune 100 Companies.
We are here to help you make a difference.