One of the usual chores this time of year is to spring clean, both indoors and outdoors. 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 you could help with a spring-cleaning weekend. You can wash windows and walls together, clean up the bedding around the home, and perhaps change from heavier winter curtains to breezier summer ones.
Why should you suggest spring cleaning with your relatives?
If your parents live alone or far from the rest of the family, it’s possible that the condition of their home has deteriorated somewhat due to physical limitations. A home that is no longer well maintained could be a sign that their health is failing and the family needs to become involved. Or it may simply mean that your loved one may have a hard time or not have the endurance to do a deep cleaning. This could be the perfect time to talk with your relatives about safety and security measures
Here are some suggestions that can help you create your own spring-cleaning checklist.
- Toss expired cans, packaged items, and spices. Donate items you won’t use.
- Empty the refrigerator. Throw away expired items and make a list of anything that needs to be replaced.
- Clean all the surfaces, including appliances, with an antibacterial product.
- Make certain all items are in reach. Move food and cooking items to lower shelves so stools or chairs aren’t needed to reach items.
- Clean out dressers and closets.
- Pack away the winter wear, and move the spring and summer items up front.
- Exchange the winter boots for spring and summer shoes.
- Gather clothing together that no longer fits, or you don’t wear anymore, and donate to a local charity organization.
- Change the heavier comforter to a more lightweight spread.
- Dust all dressers and nightstands.
- Thoroughly scrub the bathtub, shower and toilets.
- Clean out the medicine cabinet. Properly make arrangements to dispose of anything that is expired.
- Clean all the surfaces with an antibacterial product.
- 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.
- Monitor Your Smoke Alarm System, Fire Extinguisher and Emergency Kit. Make sure that all emergency items are working properly and fully charged. If your loved one doesn’t have these items, now is the perfect time to add them to the home.
- Clean up the clutter. De-cluttering will keep everyone safer. Small appliances that aren’t used daily can be stored away, eliminating additional electrical cords. Perhaps they are a lover of magazines, newspapers, books and mail and as a result, they are now piled next to the chair or couch. Cleaning up those piles can reduce the risk of trips and falls. Along with that, maintaining clear walkways in every part of their home or apartment should be a priority. You might want to consider a medical alert system with fall detection in the event a fall does occur.
- Shake out and wash area rugs.
- Shampoo or steam clean carpets.
- Polish hardwood floors and scrub the linoleum.
- Clean the walls in all of the rooms to clear away any dust, grime or spider webs that accumulated during the winter months.
- Mop all floors and wipe baseboards.
- Consider if it’s time to install a security system
- Check all window and door locks to make sure they are easy to use and in proper working condition.
Garage and Outdoors:
- Clean up any clutter that accumulated during the winter months.
- Clean up outdoor bedding areas. Taking time to spring clean your yard when the plants are just waking up from their winter hibernation may help you avoid any issues with your foliage in the summer.
- Remove any coverings you put on your outdoor plants once the threat of overnight freezing has passed. If you staked up any trees so they would survive the winter, it’s time to remove them.
- Resist the urge to prune trees and shrubs in the early spring months. Summer and fall are the best times for pruning.
- If you have perennial plants, cut them so they can grow back. The same is true for ornamental grasses, cut them back so they flourish once summer is in full swing.
Finally, as you’re spending time together, you can do a visual inspection on the health of your loved one. 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 furniture.
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