Assisted living senior apartments are some of the highest risk areas for serious communicable diseases such as COVID-19 and influenza. Providing the people and employees of these assisted living apartments with the cleanest possible living conditions not only helps them to stay as healthy as possible, but it also contributes greatly to their quality of life.

Fortunately, there are a few things that seniors and caregivers can do to help create the cleanest, safest, and properly disinfected living areas. This starts with asking and answering some very important questions. Then we will take a closer look at essential tips for maintaining a clean and safe assisted living senior apartment.

Is There A Difference Between Cleaning and Disinfecting?

On the news, you might hear terms like “Cleaning” and “Disinfecting” being thrown around as if they are interchangeable synonyms. This certainly makes the terminology confusing. Though for the record cleaning and disinfecting are two different things that often happen in conjunction with each other.

On the face of it, “Cleaning” refers to removing dirt, grime, biological materials, or pathogens from a surface. This usually involves good old soap and water, or perhaps a mild cleaning detergent. While some germs might die in the cleaning process, it is nonetheless related to tidying and the removal of physical debris from one’s living area.

Whereas “Disinfecting” directly refers to the actual killing and eliminating of pathogens. This includes harmful bacteria and viruses as well as other potentially harmful microbes. This usually calls for using a chemical cleaner with active ingredients that are specifically formulated for that purpose.

Ultimately, keeping any home as free from germs as possible requires a combination of cleaning and disinfecting. It is especially important in assisted living senior apartments.

What Are The Best Cleaning Products That Are Safe For Seniors To Use?

The United States Centers for Disease Control published guidelines specifically for cleaning and disinfecting in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes a list of cleaning products that are recognized by the EPA for use by the general public for everyday cleaning tasks. There is also a list that was created specifically for senior living residents as well as anyone. It includes a lot of familiar brand names such as Clorox, Lysol, and Scrubbing Bubbles.

What Needs To Be Cleaned To Prevent The Spread of COVID-19 & Other Viruses?

Establishing routine cleaning tasks will go a long way toward providing a healthier senior apartment. This starts with meticulously wiping down any high-touch surfaces after anyone visits, including home health aides, delivery people, or guests. Extra care should be given to things like tabletops, counters, door handles, light switches, and any dishes or glassware.

A lot of seniors like to order meals, as well as groceries, and other essential supplies as opposed to going out shopping. This is especially true during required quarantine periods which might be a necessity. If someone else comes into your home to drop off purchases, wipe down anything they may have touched, such as door handles. It’s been noted that like many viruses, COVID-19 tends to have a shorter lifespan on porous surfaces. This means that the risk of contracting on soft surfaces is generally lower, but to be extra cautious, dispose of boxes or envelopes and wash your hands after opening packages or mail.

Cleaning After Grocery Shopping or Other Trips

Seniors and caregivers who bring in goods from the outside world need to be conscious about the potential for COVID-19 and other pathogens coming in with the packages or parcels. While the risk of transferring COVID-19 and similar viruses on cardboard packaging is low, it is still not impossible.

When bringing in new packages such as grocery shopping, or delivery items, it’s a good idea to leave them on the floor and immediately wash your hands with soap for a minimum of 20 seconds. You can then rinse fresh produce with water only, but there is no need to wipe down or wash other items. Then carefully wash your hands again after you put away the groceries.

Common Items That May Need Cleaning In A Senior Apartment

There are some household surfaces and items that seniors should pay attention to cleaning and disinfecting. This includes but is not limited to:

Cell Phones & Landline Phones

Phones of any type ultimately spend a lot of time close to your face. This means that the phone could contain trace amounts of saliva. Ideally, your phones should be carefully wiped down with a disinfectant regularly. You might want to give extra attention to your cellular phone as it might need disinfecting after each time they leave home with you. To clean your cell phone, first, turn it off, then wipe it down with a small amount of spray cleaner or a disinfectant wipe.

Never let someone else use your phone for anything other than emergency purposes. If someone does need to use your phone for some reason, make sure to wipe it down with a disinfecting wipe immediately afterward, and do not use it until it has been properly disinfected.

Cloth Face Masks

It’s recommended that you wash each of your cloth face masks after each time you wear them out of the house. Do your best to remove the mask by the straps, taking care to keep the outside surface from touching your face, and place it in the sink or washing machine. Follow the washing instructions for that specific type of mask. The majority of cloth masks can be washed by hand or in the washing machine.

Eye Glasses, Sunglasses & Goggles

Glasses, sunglasses, reading glasses, and even safety goggles can potentially transfer germs from your hands or other surfaces to your face. Immediately upon returning home from an outing, you need to remove your glasses and wash them with dish soap to disinfect them.

Wallets, Purses & Credit Card Care

Even before the era of COVID-19, it was well-known that money can pick up a lot of germs as it changes hands. This means that those germs can transfer to your purse or wallet and then be accidentally brought back into your home. So, it’s best to wipe down purses, wallets, and credit cards with disinfecting wipes or microfiber cloth and dish soap to eliminate germs.