Archives for April 2020 | Taking Care Of A Parent Blog | Taking Care Of Elderly Parents

Wash Your Hands

As a caregiver of a parent you are always trying to make sure you are protecting your parent from getting sick. Germs are all around and they are easily spread and for an elderly person that can have devastating effects on their health. One of the simplest precautions against germs is to wash your and your parents hands.

Germs are on everything we touch and then we touch our face, touch our parent to adjust something, have a snack or eat a meal. You always have to make sure your hands are clean to prevent the spread of germs.

Going to a doctor’s office or medical facility can be the worst place for germs. From the time you leave your car to the time you return you are bombarded with all kinds of bacteria. You open the door to the medical building, then you touch your parents wheelchair or hold the door open for them. You may then go to the elevator area and press the button to summon the elevator. You get in the elevator and sometimes they are stuffed with people. Then you open the door to the doctor’s office and try to find a place for your parent to sit or position the wheelchair. You then sign your parent in using a pen or an electronic tablet. When it’s your turn you are escorted to a room and you sit and wait for the doctor. This is just a basic routine when visiting a medical professional many times you do much more than what was just stated. When you are finished you have to do most it all again in reverse order. Everyone of these tasks can put you and your parent at risk.

When you go back to your car you use and contaminate your key or fob to unlock the vehicle. You touch the door handle and seat belts and your parent as your trying to help them into the car. Once you’re in the car you touch the steering wheel and controls. You drive home and you contaminate your house keys, front door and anything in your home you touch before you are able to clean yourself and your parent.

All that and more is from a visit to your doctor or medical facility.

Some say that this is over the top for exposure but as with all experts they never agree. So do you want to take a chance on you or your parent getting sick while the experts debate what’s right. I would rather follow on the side of caution. How do you cut down on all that exposure to germs? A simple way is to wash your hands. I always carried baby cleaning wipes with me so I could clean my and my parents hands without using soap and water. I also had a container of sanitizing wipes so I could clean the surface of the places I touched on my car.

When we got back into our car I would give my mom a baby wipe to clean her hands. I would take a wipe and clean my hands. I would then take a sanitizing wipe and clean the wheelchair handles, pushing arms in back, the seat and armrests. I would clean the car door handles, keys, steering wheel and controls. Anything I thought I touched I would clean with a sanitizing wipe. When finished I would throw them into a disposable plastic bag in the back of the car and put it in the trash when we got home. Yes it was more work but it helped prevent us from getting sick.

When we got home I made sure both of us washed our hands with soap and warm water. Just another precaution to protect my mom and I from getting sick.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

James Colozzo
Author-“You Got To Do What You Got To Do”

James Colozzo is not a medical expert or professional and has no formal training or education on this subject. He is an average person that was given a challenge and had to deal with the situation. His experience comes from the over 20 years that he actually did all the work to care for his elderly parents and their medical conditions. Since every person, condition and situation is different, what Mr. Colozzo did to care for his parents might not be suitable for others. You need to partner with your physician to find what type of care is best for your situation.
Copyright © 2020 James Colozzo

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