Though the idea of fall cleaning creates thoughts of cooler weather, rainy days and the impending winter months, consider that the hours it takes to clean your parent's house or apartment and yard can equate to an afternoon of conversation, memory-building and bonding. Whether you're living in the same city as your elderly relatives or only make occasional visits, having a shared activity such as freshening up the house after the warm summer months is a great one. Additionally, it's sometimes easier to have a meaningful conversation while involved in a task.
Make the idea of planning a fall cleaning session a fun one; get the family involved, bring some food that can simmer in a crockpot, add finger foods and desserts. Spending the day cleaning, raking leaves and switching from summer to winter is a great way to make certain that the house is age proofed for safety and helps identify any additional areas that need to be addressed to keep your parents safe. Even if your parents typically turn down offers of help, they will likely accept this because it is a needed task and one that is not easily done by the aged.
Here are some items to tackle during the fall cleaning process:
Clean the closets. Reorganize and move the winter clothing to the front of the closet. Sweep out the corners to remove any insects and dust and dirt to keep the air in the house cleaner and more breathable.
Tackle the kitchen by cleaning out the refrigerator, toss old and expired food. Wash the vegetable trays and the shelves. Then tackle the cupboards and do the same. Check for any sign of rodents or bugs that may have stopped by during the hot summer months. Visually inspect appliances for signs of misuse or age and to ascertain that they're in good working order.
Clean and organize the bathroom cupboards, especially the medicine cabinet. This is a good time to make certain your aging loved ones are taking their medications correctly and to dispose of expired bottles. Do the grab bars need to be adjusted or tightened or do grab bars need to be installed? Check for wear and tear on the rugs and any frayed edges and make certain there are non-slip rugs in and around the bathtub.
The living room draperies should be removed and cleaned. Vacuum and shampoo the carpets and do a thorough dusting of the furniture. Again, check this room to see if there are any loose or frayed cords on appliances or carpeting. Also, replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Don't forget to change the batteries in remote controls for the television as well.
In the bedroom, do the same with the curtains but change all bed linens, flip the mattress and do a thorough cleaning underneath the bed. Make certain it looks like the seniors in your life are using their beds and not simply spending all of their time sleeping in the living room chairs or on the couch.
If your aging relatives are having a hard time remembering specific items or are having issues talking on the telephone and remembering phone numbers, or may be experiencing a greater number of falls, part of your fall cleaning duties may include setting them up with a home medical monitoring system. With these devices, in the event of a slip, fall or other medical emergency, they simply need to push a button and help will be summoned by the emergency response team.