Spring CleaningIt’s taken some time, but spring is in the air. The sunshine and longer days are energizing, propelling many of us to do much needed spring cleaning. Removing winter clutter and freshening up is good for our physical and mental health. Spring cleaning, however, can be daunting for older adults who may have difficulty taking care of regular housekeeping.  Limited mobility, vision impairment, and other chronic conditions may add to the challenge of cleaning and organizing.

In addition to your regular spring cleaning list, you may want to consider these tips when helping with and/or arranging spring cleaning for an older adult:

  • Schedule specific times for cleaning, whether it will be done in a day or over a longer period of time. Life is hectic, and unless it’s on the calendar, it is unlikely to happen. Find a mutually convenient time for everyone involved.
  • Involve the older adult as much as possible. Remember, this is not your home and your loved one should remain in control and contribute what she can. If your loved one cannot help physically, have them involved in overseeing projects and decision making. If your loved one is overwhelmed or  has dementia,  let them know what you are doing and find ways to keep them  involved with discreet tasks, such as folding laundry or polishing silver. Everyone likes to feel useful and accomplished.
  • If possible, have a conversation and make a mutually agreed upon list of what needs to be done. Creating a list will help set goals, prioritize  tasks and will keep everybody focused.
  • Your Freedom caregiver can help with light housekeeping throughout the year but major projects, like spring cleaning, may require the help of family and/or a one-time session with a professional cleaning service.
  • Clean out the medicine cabinet. Dispose of expired medications and medications that are no longer being taken.
  • Clean out the refrigerator and discard any expired items.
  • If it wasn’t done when you changed the clocks in April, be sure to change batteries in all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Remove clutter that may have accumulated over the winter. Clutter can lead to falls* and can impede a safe exit. Go through piles of mail and paperwork and determine what needs to be kept, what can be recycled and what should be shredded.

While sorting, take time to organize important documents if you haven’t already. Legal, health and financial documents should be organized in one place to make them easy to find when needed. Important documents* include:  power of attorney, advance health care directive, will, and birth and marriage certificates.

Spring cleaning can be refreshing for your home and for you. Helping your loved one with spring cleaning will insure that she continues to live in a clean, healthy environment.  If, while you are cleaning and organizing, you become aware of concerns – such as safety issues, not enough food in the home, confusion over medications, signs of forgetfulness –  do not hesitate to contact the office, 201-883-1200. Freedom’s staff is here to help and to discuss solutions while spring cleaning or at anytime throughout the year.

If you are interested in learning about a specific topic feel free to send requests to rcohen@freedomhh.com.