Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is an infection caused by bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics. Although anyone can catch MRSA, seniors are most vulnerable to developing the condition due to their weaker immune systems and increased contact with others in medical facilities. For this reason, both you and your senior loved one should be aware of the following strategies for preventing an MRSA infection.
Understand How MRSA Spreads
MRSA is primarily spread through direct contact with skin, and it’s particularly likely to infect a person who has an open wound. If a person with an MRSA infection touches another individual, that person can contract MRSA. These bacteria can also survive on almost any surface. Therefore, the infection can spread if a person with MRSA touches an object and transmits the bacteria to the next person who touches it.
Practice Effective Hand Hygiene
Though washing hands can prevent infections, many people don’t perform this task correctly, which makes it less effective. Encourage your loved one to wash his or her hands for at least 20 seconds after contact with surfaces that could be exposed to germs. This should be done using a scrubbing motion, and it’s important to wash beneath the fingernails and between the fingers. Your loved one should use a disposable towel to dry his or her hands, and a separate one should be used to turn off the water.
If your loved one needs help following healthy hygiene habits, a home caregiver can be a wonderful source of support. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of home care service. Flower Mound families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
Never Share Personal Items
Seniors who live with family members sometimes develop comfortable relationships that can lead to sharing things such as towels. However, personal items that come into contact with the skin are common sources of MRSA infections. Encourage your loved one to avoid sharing toothbrushes and razors, and towels should only be used once and then washed with hot water to kill bacteria.
Any wound should always be kept covered with a sterile bandage to limit the possibility of germs entering the break in your loved one’s skin. However, bandages can also prevent spreading MRSA if an infection does occur. Your loved one should also insist caregivers wear gloves if they’re assisting with changing dressings, and both your loved one and anyone providing care should wash their hands afterward.
Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional in-home care. Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.
Know the Warning Signs
MRSA is very contagious and can spread from one person to another quickly. As a general rule, infections that are caught early have better outcomes. For this reason, your loved one and his or her caregivers should be aware of warning signs, such as redness, pus, or swelling at the site of a wound. If you notice any of these signs, medical attention should be sought promptly so your loved one has a better chance of limiting the scope of the infection.
Following these tips for preventing MRSA may be difficult for seniors living with cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s or dementia. Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional dementia care. Flower Mound families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (972) 468-6010 to learn more about our high-quality home care services.