Both cleaning and disinfecting are important to do in your senior’s home, particularly during times of the year when colds and the flu are more likely to be a problem. Understanding the differences between these two activities is important as well, because you can’t disinfect surfaces that aren’t clean. Likewise, just because a surface is clean, that doesn’t mean that it’s been disinfected.
Cleaning and Disinfecting Both Involve Removing Germs
The big difference between cleaning and disinfecting involves what exactly happens with the germs that are in the vicinity. Cleaning removes dirt and can mechanically remove germs. Disinfecting, on the other hand, doesn’t just remove germs. Proper disinfection kills germs so that they’re no longer reproducing and causing illness. Cleaning and disinfecting go hand in hand to keep your senior as safe from potentially debilitating illnesses as possible.
Limiting Germs Is a Good Idea
Limiting germs is in general a very good idea, particularly if your elderly family member’s immune system is compromised. Every person has a different tolerance level for germs, and if your elderly family member is already sick from chronic illnesses like cancer or heart disease, germs could be something that send her health reeling. That’s something you want to avoid.
Some Spaces Don’t Need Cleaning and Disinfecting as Often
Some areas need frequent disinfecting, cleaning, or both. Places like the front door or the toilet handle are frequently used and often have germs that need to be removed. Other areas of the house, like your senior’s guest room, maybe aren’t used as often and don’t need disinfection or cleaning every week, much less every day.
Having Some Help May Be Exactly What Your Senior Needs
This can be a lot for your senior to keep up with on her own, especially if her health is already at risk. That’s where home care providers can really be helpful to her and to you. They can take over some of these tasks for your senior, while also offering help in other ways. That way your elderly family member is able to focus her time and her energy on the tasks that she’s able to do and that bring her a bit more joy.
Your elderly family member’s needs may vary. Talk to her about what she most needs and wants help managing and you can adjust as necessary. Home care providers can even help you to assess your senior’s needs more accurately.