Hand Washing & Seniors: A Guide

It’s one of the first things that many of us learn. It’s something some of us do quite often, and some of us not enough. It’s hand washing, and many senior citizens are finding a pathway to health through adopting this helpful practice. 

Whether you are a senior citizen in california or a home health aide, here is a breakdown of the CDC’s guide for how to wash your hands. 

1. Rinse Hands with Warm Water and Apply Soap

To properly wash their hands, senior citizens should begin by starting the tap with warm running water. You may recall that some agencies, such as the FDA, recommend 100 degrees fahrenheit (38 degrees celsius), yet this recommendation is not truly supported by scientific research. Thus, as long as the water is warm, the senior citizen should be good to go! 

After the water reaches the optimal temperature, the senior citizen can place their hands into the water, and apply the soap.

2. Lather Soap All Over Hands

This step is one that a lot of us tend to skimp on! To ensure the whole hand is sanitized, It’s important to apply and lather the soap to the entirety of the hand. Most germs can hide in between our digits and in other slightly covered areas. Thus, it’s imperative to scrub in between your fingers, as well as under the fingernails. 

The goal is to ensure that every inch of your hands are covered with soap and has undergone some form of friction. It should be noted, that if a senior citizen is living with osteoarthritis, or another form of joint sensitivity, they do not have to push themselves during this step. As always, you can have a home health aide or friend assist you. 

3. Wash Hands for 20 Seconds

This is the step that we all seem to recall: when washing your hands, the CDC recommends you wash with friction for 20 whole seconds. They’ve famously stated that you can count this time by singing the song Happy Birthday to ensure that you wash for long enough. 

4. Rinse with Warm Water and Dry

Once their hands have been thoroughly scrubbed, seniors are now able to rinse with warm water. Removed of all extra suds, they can dry their hands with a towel, or air dry. It should be noted that the CDC recommends using a towel or drying apparatus to turn the faucet off.