Whether you’re an older adult yourself or the professional or family caregiver, you probably already know that cleanliness is very important for older adults. However, as people get older, it may be harder for them to keep their environments clean. Here are some basic tips to keep an older adults’ home clean.

  1. Know the Difference Between Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Sterilization

You probably won’t need to sterilize much in an older adult’s home, but you will need to know the difference between these three terms generally. This article from RegisteredNursing.org delves into the difference between them, but in summary, cleaning is removing residue and debris like dirt or food from a surface.  Disinfecting eliminates bacteria from surfaces, and sanitizing “breaks up all forms of microbial life” (RegisteredNursing.Org). Sanitization is another term that refers to reducing the number of germs to a safe level, according to MedlinePlus.  A surface being clean does not mean the germs have been killed or removed.

2. Disinfect Common Surfaces Often

Make sure you are disinfecting any commonly used surfaces often. Doorknobs, faucets, and stair rails are all common surfaces that should be disinfected to prevent bacteria from making the older adult sick. Again, just because a surface is clean doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to be disinfected.

3. Always Read the Instructions

This probably sounds like a no-brainer for most people, but if you are a family or professional caregiver, you may not be using the products you’re used to at home! Our caregivers use the client’s cleaning products. Or, the product could be multi-use. My toilet cleaner is used for cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting. So, always check the instructions for how you’re supposed to use it, and do not mix products!

I hope that these basic tips to keep an older adults’ home clean is useful for you and your family. If not, stay tuned for more advice that is bit less basic.