Spring is in the air and now is the time to declutter and organize! For a senior, spring cleaning can also be a smart way to do a safety check while removing clutter. Many older people tend to keep items long after they are of use, and that behavior can lead to health hazards. You or a caregiver can take charge of spring cleaning to keep your loved one safe throughout the year.
Out With the Old
Sometimes food items are looked over when cleaning out the kitchen. You may want to start by looking at expiration dates in the refrigerator and stale or outdated items in the pantry. This is also a good opportunity to organize the kitchen for easier access for frequently used items, and identify equipment that may be more useful in someone else’s home.
Just Say No
Tackle medicine cabinets as well to get rid of old prescriptions. Your senior can be at risk for accidental poisoning or overdose by taking too much or the wrong medicines. Make sure any remaining medications are up-to-date and clearly labeled. Expired and unused medications can be dropped off at your local police station for proper disposing.
When in Doubt
You or a caregiver should encourage your senior to part with many things that can begin to clutter in the home. Stacks of old papers, financial records, and other documents should be shredded if they are no longer needed. You can even scan documents to maintain records to get rid of the hard copies. With fewer piles, your loved one can move about the home easier with less risk of tripping.
Take the opportunity this spring to inspect and replace safety equipment that everyone should have in their homes, especially seniors. Remove any loose throw rugs or other hazards to reduce the risk of falls. Check floors for potential tripping hazards and repair as necessary. Test the batteries in smoke detectors and purchase small fire extinguishers to have on hand. You may also want to go through the first aid kit and replenish any items that are in short supply. If your loved one has an emergency alert system, be sure it is in good working order.
A thorough spring cleaning can be a huge undertaking. You may need more help to get the job done, especially if your senior is resistant to decluttering. You can hire a crew to step in for the big chores, including furniture moving, deep cleaning, and removal of unwanted items. Try to encourage your loved one to participate in the discussion of what to keep or what to toss to maintain dignity and independence.
When seniors, caregivers, and family members work together, spring cleaning can be less of a burden on any one individual. Let Home Helpers assist in your planning for the health and well-being of your loved one.