It finally feels like spring is here! The weather is warming, the grass is getting greener, and the trees are budding. It’s a great time to get outside and shake off those winter blues, but this is also the perfect opportunity to give your senior’s living space a good spring cleaning so they can feel rejuvenated inside and out. Having a clean space to live in makes a big difference when it comes to improving quality of life. An organized space is safer and easier to navigate, and as a family member or care giver, spring cleaning can help you evaluate the space and identify if more advanced caregiving is needed.
1. Have a game plan
Spring cleaning can seem like an overwhelming project no matter how old you are. Creating a plan and a checklist of what needs to be done before you start will turn an overwhelming project into a manageable one. If you’re helping a senior, make sure to involve them in this plan, addressing the areas of their home or living space that are important to them. In addition, don’t feel as if you have to do everything all at once! Split your cleaning plan into sections and tackle projects little by little. Doing so will keep you and an elderly loved one motivated to get the job done, and prevent exhaustion from trying to do too much.
2. Use the right tools
Having the right cleaning tools on hand can make spring cleaning much easier. For example, using a duster with an extender can help your senior get to those hard to reach areas without involving a ladder or step stool, which could pose a falling hazard. The tools you use also include the cleaning products you’re using to get things spick and span. Stay away from harsh chemicals, and consider using more natural cleaning products instead to minimize the chances of any allergic reactions or irritations.
3. Make it a team effort
It’s understandable that a senior may want to tackle spring cleaning on their own to maintain independence, but as the old saying goes, “many hands make light work.”
Offer to help, and make the project a team effort instead. This doesn’t mean that independence needs to be sacrificed. Cleaning together can be used as an excuse to catch up, share happy memories, and provide company.
4. Put safety first
This applies to both your senior and their space. Safety should always be a priority, so make sure your elderly loved one isn’t taking on projects that are too big or dangerous for them to handle, such as lifting heavy objects or having to balance on a ladder. On the subject of safety, this is a great time to check batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they’re functioning properly, and evaluate the space to make sure any tripping hazards have been removed.
5. Get rid of expired items
Medicine cabinets, pantries, and the refrigerator are all places where expired items can accumulate over time. Be sure to safely dispose of any expired medications, which can reduce the risk of taking the wrong medication. A more organized medicine cabinet can also make for a safer and more effective medication management plan. Any expired pantry items and spoiled food should also be disposed of, ensuring your senior has fresh, healthy food on hand.
6. Minimize clutter
Help your senior go through belongings and items that have accumulated over time to determine what can be thrown out or given away. Doing so can help minimize unnecessary clutter, free up space in the home, and make it easier to get around. While a helping hand can be appreciated, it’s important to make sure that they take the lead on this task, as you don’t want your senior to feel like their space or independence is being compromised.
If you’re concerned that your loved one may need additional care, Loretto can help! We offer caregiver support, as well as long-term care. Loretto is proud to offer 19 specialized programs and facilities with over 2,500 dedicated caregivers, providing a system of care that addresses the unique needs of every individual. Contact us today to learn more!