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Spring is just around the corner! It’s a time when many of us open the windows, shake out the curtains and do a fresh sweep of our homes and workspaces. A newly-scrubbed, swept or sanitized surface not only offers a healthier, safer environment, but also boosts the mood with an unparalleled sense of comfort and well-being. And no one understands this better than the housekeeping teams at Holiday. 


Our housekeepers are integral to the Holiday mission to provide a safe, homey atmosphere for our residents. Their hands deliver the signature Holiday touch, upholding the highest standards in cleanliness and sanitation in resident homes and common areas. 


Housekeeping at Holiday extends beyond custodial, janitorial, and housekeeping tasks. All of our associates are thoroughly screened and pass background checks, resulting in the superior safety, service, and satisfaction that our residents have come to expect. 


But perhaps most notable is how dedicated many housekeepers become to the people who live in the community. Residents often develop friendships with them, and even grow to regard them as family. “I just really like the staff here, and I like the housekeepers and servers,” said resident Susie Johnson of Montvale Estates. “I’m really partial to a couple of them. They’re so nice. It’s just good people here.”


Routine Cleaning Practices 

At a time when COVID-19 prevention protocols are most critical, Holiday Retirement is proud that our routine cleaning practices continue to meet and exceed all state, local, and regulatory sanitation and hygiene guidelines. “Even when COVID-19 is theoretically gone, we’ll have processes and protocols in place that will continue to keep our residents safe,” says Matthew Smith, Senior Director of Dining Services. “We’re not going to stop, because we want to be ultra-safe.”


Read on to learn more about how our cleaning regimens go above and beyond:

Apartments and Cottages 

Holiday Retirement housekeepers clean residents’ apartments or cottages regularly. Routine apartment cleaning includes:

  • Vacuuming carpets

  • Cleaning bathrooms and kitchens

  • Wiping counters and other surfaces

  • Providing clean linens weekly


Common Areas 

Our common area cleaning services follow strict guidelines informed by the CDC and reviewed by certified industrial hygienists. Staff use top-tier, EPA-registered disinfectants proven to kill coronavirus, norovirus, H1N1, listeria, MRSA, and staph.

In addition to everyday tasks like vacuuming and dusting, housekeeping staff disinfect these high-touch surfaces at least three times daily:

  • Doorknobs and handles

  • Restroom surfaces, handles, and faucets

  • Mailboxes

  • Washer and dryer handles and lids

  • Tables, counters, and chairs

  • Exercise equipment

  • Railings and light switches

  • Televisions, remotes, pens, computers, and office equipment

  • Snack bar doors, counters, handles, dispensers, and popcorn machines 

  • Seats and railings in community vehicles

Housekeeping staff also monitor high-traffic areas and clean them frequently. “If residents are going up and down the elevator all day, we’re on top of that, constantly going in and cleaning buttons,” said Smith.


The Five Step Cleaning Process

To ensure the utmost cleanliness and safety, our housekeeping staff follows a highly-detailed 5-step process. Here’s how it works:  


Step 1: Prepare 

Cleaning staff will first check that their equipment and the living space are ready. They wear protective equipment such as face masks, aprons or gowns, and wash their hands for 30 seconds with soap and water before putting on disposable gloves. 

Upon entering the space, the cleaning team follows CDC guidelines which recommend opening doors and windows and using ventilating fans to increase air circulation before beginning to clean and disinfect. 


Step 2: Clean

The next step is to tackle dust and debris in order to properly disinfect. All surfaces are wiped to remove dirt, grease, dust, and germs. Our housekeepers clean kitchen counters, bathroom surfaces and fixtures, mirrors, televisions, and chrome. They also wipe, dust and clean furniture and lamps, taking care to avoid personal items. 

Carpets are vacuumed and floors are swept. Fresh towels and bed linens are provided, and old ones are removed and laundered with the highest recommended heat setting. Housekeepers also make beds, empty the trash cans, and leave a weekly supply of toilet paper.  


Once a month, the cleaning staff sweeps senior apartment patios, clean the air conditioner and heat filter, wash windows, and defrost and clean the refrigerator.


Step 3: Sanitize

There’s a difference between cleaning and sanitizing. Cleaning is removing germs and dirt from surfaces, like using a soapy sponge to wipe a kitchen countertop or stovetop. Sanitizing is using chemicals to reduce or eliminate germs and bacteria on a surface, such as spraying a chemical disinfectant on a doorknob.


Proper sanitizing has never been so critical, and our cleaning teams use top-of-the-line disinfectant and sanitizer solutions approved by the EPA. To property disinfect, a housekeeper will spray the solution on all surfaces, and allow it to stand for three minutes. This allows time for the chemicals to effectively sanitize and kill as many germs as possible, before being thoroughly wiped away. Your housekeeper will sanitize all hard surfaces, counters, tubs, showers, commodes, sinks, and high-touch areas like door knobs, light switches, and electronics. 


Step 4: Final check

After cleaning and sanitizing, our housekeepers complete a checklist for each room to make sure everything has been thoroughly cared for. This includes double-checking that all high-touch surfaces were sanitized and correcting anything that may have been missed.


Step 5: Finishing and restocking

After each apartment cleaning, we wash cleaning supplies at the highest recommended heat setting. We empty and sanitize the vacuum cleaner and disinfect cleaning tools. Our housekeepers dispose of or wash any personal protective gear like aprons and gloves. They restock their cleaning supplies and wash their hands for at least 30 seconds before putting on gloves and moving onto the next room. 


Additional Pandemic Precautions 

Even despite the rigorous infectious disease precautions that have long been taken to protect our communities, Holiday has introduced a number of enhanced protocols to combat the unprecedented challenges of the coronavirus. Increased cleaning frequency (at least 7 to 8 times a day) and the addition of more aggressive sanitizing was part of our response to COVID-19. If there’s been a positive case in a community, we bring in a specialized cleaning team. The team wipes down all surfaces, sprays the surfaces with sanitizer, lets the sanitizer sit for three minutes, then repeats the entire process three additional times. They also conduct a cleaning extraction of all common area carpets. All areas there may have been an exposure are sanitized.


“Our housekeeping staff should be totally, totally commended,” said Kristin Woods, regional director of sales for Holiday Retirement. “They’re cleaning constantly and everywhere. We’re talking all the way down to elevator buttons, sanitizing the hand rails, any nook and cranny you can think of to keep the residents safe.”  


We have a team dedicated to researching new, innovative ways to keep our communities safe. They are testing several high-tech, surgical-grade sanitizing products in some of our independent living communities, with hopes of rolling them out across all Holiday senior living communities. Learn more about how Holiday Retirement has risen to the challenges of COVID-19. 


Move In with Confidence

As part of our guidelines for move-ins, staff disinfect the full path used by the moving team, including elevators, doors, carts, and all other touchpoints. With our extensive, tried and tested safety protocols in place, we’ve been welcoming new residents to our communities every week. Holiday’s enhanced Welcome Home program emphasizes safety with a friendly and highly personalized move-in experience—residents receive gift baskets filled with goodies, activities and sanitation supplies. And while a 14-day quarantine has been required for new members of our community, this isolation measure is no longer needed for anyone that is 10 days past their second COVID-19 vaccination.


Susie Johnson, who became a resident of Montvale Estates in August of 2020, says she has confidence in the safety measures being taken in her community. “They have the protocols in place about the masks, and [they] take your temperature. They take it a lot,” she said. “Anytime you come in and out, they're taking your temperature. And they don’t have any cases of COVID at all because they’re on top of it. It’s a very safe place to be.”


Committed to Our Communities

All members of our staff, including the cleaning teams, have taken a pledge to stay safe outside of work in order to keep residents safe inside our communities. This means we follow CDC-recommended guidelines such as practicing social distancing, wearing masks in public and in the workplace, abiding travel restrictions, washing hands frequently, and staying home if feeling ill. This commitment by our staff, along with our everyday safety measures and stringent cleaning protocols, continue to keep our communities’ infection rates below the national average.


Still have questions? Ask our associates anything about cleaning and other safety protocols at our award-winning retirement communities. Contact us today and learn why our residents feel safe and cared for at Holiday Retirement.


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