As the aging process unfolds, we become more susceptible to illness – especially the common cold in seniors.

Common cold in seniors

This may be due to the fact that older people need to guard their health a little more than the rest of us. Health conditions, medications, and even stressful situations may make an elderly person more sensitive to getting the sniffles, or a full-blown infection. Senior care may require extra attention from family members and caregivers during the peak cold and flu season.

Listed below, are a few tips to help prevent the common cold in seniors, and tips for treating a respiratory virus.


Eat Healthy

Many popular eating plans recommend five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. An average serving is half a cup or four ounces. In addition, it is important to eat a balanced diet from all five food groups: protein, dairy, carbohydrates, fats, and produce. Each food group provides important vitamins and minerals needed for good physical health. In addition, it helps to maintain a healthy weight for the person’s age and build. Being underweight can sometimes weaken immunity.


Rest Adequately

Senior cold care should include adequate rest each night. About seven to eight hours of sleep is typical for older adults. For optimum rest, the senior or senior caregiver should keep the room comfortably cool but not cold, as well as turn off the lights except what is needed for safe bathroom mobility during the night. If sleep is disrupted occasionally, a daytime nap of thirty to forty-five minutes can often make up for lost sleep at night.


Socialize Frequently

Elderly people who are retired can benefit from regular social interaction with relatives and friends. If the person is a shut-in, an in-home care provider can assist with inviting guests to stop by or in taking the senior out on shopping trips or luncheon get-togethers with friends. In addition, social media, phone or text messages, and mailed greeting cards to say hello are welcome ways of making a senior feel appreciated and connected, which helps to boost levels of happiness and immunity.


Wash Often

Senior citizens who live with several people or who go out in public often should wash their hands afterwards. With colds going around, it’s easy to pick up germs from doorknobs and other public access fixtures. If someone sneezes nearby, the older person is exposed to millions of germs. Washing the hands with disposable wipes or even rinsing them under running water will remove germs that cause illness. A caregiver can assist seniors who are unable to wash themselves, if needed.


Exercise Safely

People of all ages, unless they are immobile, can generally exercise with their doctor’s permission. Walking, swimming, or pedaling a stationary bicycle contributes to a fit physique, reduces stress, and increases the body’s production of T-cells, which hunt down and destroy invading viruses and bacteria. Moving around can also enable an older person to avoid others who are actively coughing, sneezing, or sniffling.


Dress Warmly

Although it may seem obvious that everyone should dress warmly in cold weather, some older people do not experience hot or cold temperatures as sensitively as others. This can be due to the effects of aging or certain medications. In the winter, it is important for senior citizens to wear proper clothing and a warm coat as well as boots if they plan to be walking outdoors. A caregiver will want to make sure the older person is adequately dressed to prevent getting cold or even frostbitten.


Check with the Doctor

At the first sign of illness, whether a fever or fits of coughing, an elderly person should be seen by the doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment can often reduce the duration or symptoms of a cold. A family member or an in-home care provider may want to point out these symptoms as possible indicators of the onset of a cold so the doctor can be called right away. At the beginning of the cold and flu season, it is a good idea for the senior or a senior caregiver to ask the doctor’s office for advice on how to avoid catching a cold based on the elder’s specific medical health and any related conditions.



Senior care depends significantly on prevention more than cure. Avoiding a respiratory infection or catching it early helps to minimize its impact and reduce the risk of complications. Practicing good health habits all year long can help to provide protection against nasty colds and related illnesses. Senior cold care should be a priority for every older person and family members or caregivers to help senior citizens avoid the discomfort of a cold with its accompanying side effects.