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How To Help Seniors With Spring Cleaning

One of the chores this time of year is typically to spring clean a house. Spring cleaning tasks are a way for families to connect and spend time together while clearing out the winter doldrums and opening up the windows (literally) to spring and summer. Talk with the seniors in your life and see if they would like help with a spring cleaning weekend. You can wash windows and walls together, clean curtains and perhaps even change from heavier winter curtains to breezier summer ones. Use this time to check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as well.

If your elderly parents balk at having you come over and help them out, turn it into a family get together. Make the day into work “party” rather than making them feel as though you don’t think they can care for themselves and their house. If your parents are determined to age in place, it is important that the family make certain they are still able – physically and mentally – to do so.

Why should you insist on a spring cleaning for your relatives?

If your parents live alone or don’t live close to the rest of the family, it’s possible that the condition of their home has deteriorated due to physical limitations. A home that is no longer well maintained could also be a sign that their health is failing and the family needs to become involved. Bottom line though, seniors may simply have a hard time or not have the endurance to do a deep cleaning. A spring cleaning is a perfect time to do just that for them. It is also a time to de-clutter and make certain the house is safe and “age-proofed.” Age proofing a home for your relatives means making certain there are clear walkways to and from rooms, that there are no cords that they could trip on, updating bathroom fixtures or even rearranging items in kitchen cabinets so they don’t have to climb to reach items.

How to get your relatives involved:

  • Make a list of the items you’d like to help them with. Ask your parents what items they’d like to see done and get the entire family involved. Once the work is done, have a pizza party to celebrate!
  • Plan to devote the day to the tasks and don’t leave with items unfinished or your relatives may be tempted to address them once you’re gone. You want to leave the home in better condition than you found it.
  • Are there items in the home that may require the help of a professional? An electrician or a roofer for example? If so, make certain you help your parents when they are vetting these professionals so they get the best service at the best price.
  • Do you notice that your parents are having a hard time getting around and may be prone to slips or falls? If this is the case, it is crucial that you look at the bathroom with a critical eye to make certain it is senior-friendly. If necessary, install a raised seat on the toilet, non-skid stickers on the bathtub floor, non-skid rugs, and grab bars in the shower and by the toilet.
  • Spring clean the medicine cabinet and make certain your relatives’ prescriptions are up to date and throw away expired medication. Check with your local pharmacy for proper medication disposal procedures.
  • Declutter the kitchen cabinets and make certain all items are in reach. Move food and cooking items to lower shelves and urge your relatives to never climb on stools or chairs to reach items.
  • This could be the perfect time to talk with your relatives about safety and security measures for the home. These could range from installing a security system to making certain the window and door locks are easy to use as well as installing a home medical alert device for them. A personal medical alert device is a peace of mind purchase for both the family and the user. These devices may also make it possible for your aging parents to remain independent in their own homes. During a spring cleaning may be the perfect time to have this conversation – when the whole family is gathered and it’s a relaxed (if busy) atmosphere.

What spring cleaning items can you help your aging relatives with?