Spring is a time of renewal and fresh starts and it’s a tradition in most homes to do a thorough spring cleaning. Historically the long, dark months of winter also came with soot and grime from fires, candles, kerosene and other alternatives to today’s electricity for heat and light. Still, we long for a clean sweep of clutter and dirt.
Your senior may need this spring cleaning more than younger folks. Housework and chores become increasingly difficult as people age. Grandparents health conditions such as weakness, fatigue, dizziness and poor eyesight contribute to a home that is less than spic and span. Why not plan a family get-together to help your senior member with a spring cleaning visit. It can be organized with a to-do checklist and scheduled so that more than just one person is available to do the heavy work.
Here is a partial list of typical cleaning and organizing tasks needed in most homes. You’ll want to tailor your project to the specific needs of your senior. And, don’t forget to include some fun times in this family project too. Try a potluck dinner, a picnic, a movie or game night. Or, just spend some good, quality family time reminiscing about past family history.
Tasks to do in a thorough spring cleaning project:
1) Reorganize closets. This is a good time to clear out old clothing, shoes, and general junk that is no longer needed. Putting down a washable liner is also a nice touch and will help to keep the shelving clean in the future.
2) Go through bathroom cupboards to dispose of old or expired medications. Take a safety assessment for the bath—does your senior need grab bars or other safety devices installed?
3) Clean the kitchen cupboards and sanitize the refrigerator. Throw out expired food items and check the wiring of all appliances.
4) Go through living and dining areas to dispose of clutter. Vacuum and clean carpets and be sure to look for area rugs that may pose a tripping hazard.
5) Check the batteries in smoke alarms and be sure that fire extinguishers are in working condition. Replace light bulbs in lamps and fixtures.
6) Wash bedding including mattress pads and see if new mattresses or pillows are needed. Clean flooring or carpets of bathroom.
7) Clean draperies or curtains throughout the home.
8) Make a sweep of outdoor areas to check for tripping hazards or repairs needed.
9) You may want to do a drive safety test with your senior. Often if health has deteriorated or eyesight dims, the senior doesn’t want to lose driving privileges. Assess driving safety and take appropriate measures.
10) Regarding your grandparents mental wellbeing, confirm contact information for doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and the like. Consider adding a speed-dial feature to local emergency agencies and to family members. Go over paperwork such as a power of attorney, will and medical directives and be sure they’re filed where they can be found.
Our seniors enjoy living independently as long as possible. Our willingness to help with annual projects such as spring cleaning will enable them to live quality lives for longer periods of time.