It's that time again! Spring is here, which means it’s time to get the house clean and organized. A clean home can help you feel more comfortable and less stressed. It can also help eliminate safety hazards. However, getting your home cleaned can be a big challenge — especially for seniors who may have health challenges. If you assist an aging loved one or a client with spring cleaning, here are some tips to keep in mind.
Set Realistic Expectations
Before getting started, set realistic expectations. Determine how much time you can devote to the project — either a few full days or parts of some days. This can help you set a cleaning schedule. Then, you can decide how much work you and your loved one can tackle at a time. You might start by doing just one room or even just one kitchen cabinet per day. We recommend working in short bursts so that the senior doesn’t get overwhelmed or fatigued.
Additionally, you should reassure your loved one that you aren't there to take over their house. You just want to assist them in cleaning and help make the home a safer place to be. By setting realistic goals, you can help spring cleaning seem more manageable for both you and your loved one.
Seniors may accumulate a lot of stuff over the years. Some of this may hold dear memories and other items may simply be trash that a senior doesn’t want to part with. However, decluttering helps free up space, reduce safety hazards, and can relieve stress. So, it is an important part of spring cleaning.
Start by decluttering the “junk” areas of the home. We all have that one drawer or room that accumulates all of the things we don’t know what to do with. Now is the perfect time to tackle the organization of these items!
If there are items that you think should be thrown out, discuss it with your loved one. There may be a good reason that a senior wants to keep an item, or they might see that it’s okay to let the item go. You can also suggest donating items to family members or charity organizations.
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You might not think about disinfecting the home, but bacteria and germs can build up over time. Spring cleaning is a great time to wipe down surfaces that get touched frequently, like the following:
- Remote control
- Cabinet handles
- Appliance handles
And don’t forget to disinfect inside appliances as well! You can disinfect the dishwasher and the washing machine to help ensure your dishes and clothes come out as good as new.
Take this opportunity to check the batteries in the smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors. Change batteries as necessary and buy more to have on hand as extras. These simple devices can save your loved one’s life and help protect them from serious harm.
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Toss Expired Items
As you go through the house, throw away anything that is expired. Period. This includes food, medications, and other household items with expiration dates. You might not think about checking these goods:
- Bleach and other disinfectants
- Motor oil
- Fire extinguishers
- Insect repellent
Additionally, you may want to consider replacing other items, like sheets, towels, mattresses, shoes, chopping boards, sponges, etc. These could be breeding grounds for bacteria and may need to be replaced.
In addition to dusting fan blades, baseboards, air vents, and light fixtures, you should also dust those hard-to-reach places. After all, spring cleaning only comes once a year! Beds, refrigerators, stoves, and other fixtures tend to stay in their chosen place all year long. That means the dust, fallen items, and everything else under and around them are waiting to be cleaned or removed, and now is a great time to do it. Dusting can also help improve the air quality of your home.
That being said, you should also change out the air filter to further improve air quality in the home. New filters are more effective at trapping dust particles in the air.
Let in the Light
Spring cleaning is a great time to wash window panes and frames that tend to get ignored during the cold winter months. So, pull out the glass cleaner and cleaning products! By cleaning the windows, you can let in more light and brighten the home.
While you’re at it, check the locks. This can help keep your loved one safe at home and protect from burglary. You also want to make sure the windows can open in case of a fire or another emergency.
When cleaning the windows, you may also want to wash the blinds and curtains. These can accumulate dust easily throughout the year.
While you are cleaning the home, look for safety hazards, like cords, uneven floors, or rugs that bunch up easily. Clutter can even be tripping hazard. Try and address these hazards as you clean to help your loved one remain as safe as possible at home. You may also need to adjust the furniture layout of a room to help widen walkways and make it easier for a senior to navigate their home.
If this checklist seems unmanageable, it might be time for some extra help. Caring Senior Service offers housekeeping services that may assist you with your spring cleaning. In addition, we have the experience, compassion, and training necessary for comprehensive home care to make life easier for seniors and their families. To learn more about the services we provide, contact your local Caring office.