Around one-third of all seniors living outside nursing homes or hospitals live alone. For around 61% of older adults, meanwhile, the ideal living arrangement is that of living in their own home, with the help of a caregiver. Independence and freedom are the primary reasons for this wish, yet often, daily tasks such as cleaning and tidying up can be difficult for those facing conditions such as osteoarthritis, back issues, heart disease, etc. If you have a loved one who loves their home deeply, help them enjoy life in a clean, fragrant, and happy home by following these tips.
Non-Toxic Cleaning Products are Best
The fumes/gases emitted by harsh commercial cleaning products are one of the most significant sources of indoor air pollution. The problem is such that the Environmental Agency has warned that indoor air quality is five times worse than the air outside. Indoor toxins can be particularly harsh on seniors, who may already be battling respiratory and other health conditions. For this reason, always opt for non-toxic, yet highly effective products, like eco-friendly all-purpose cleaner sprays, soaps, laundry detergent etc. And, if you help your loved one out with cleaning chores, you might also consider using a steam vacuum cleaner for floors, sofas etc., since this system requires very little additional products.
Clearing the Clutter
Encourage your loved one to eliminate items that do not give them joy. Falls are a major accident risk for seniors, and clutter increases their risk, as does unnecessary furniture. Passageways should be completely clear of furniture, rugs, and other items that can pose a tripping danger and make cleaning more difficult. Suggest holding a garage sale of unwanted items or of making donations to charities that mean something to your loved one.
Seeking Professional Help
In addition to regularly keeping their home tidy, seniors should ideally receive help from loved ones or assistants for deep cleaning tasks (including spring cleaning). This service doesn’t necessarily have to be a luxury. Medicaid offers homemaker services to seniors for tasks like cleaning, laundry, shopping for home essentials, etc. If seniors are unable to clean their home themselves, the combined efforts of assistants and other volunteers can ensure that their home remains tidy and clean.
Providing Adequate Storage Space
To help seniors keep their home tidy, ensure that they have enough storage space. If their home is small, think of unused spaces that can serve for shelves, cupboards, etc. The entrance hall is commonly used for merely decorative purposes but a console table is ideal to help them store keys, mail, etc. Other spaces that could be used for storage include the under stairs area, beneath beds, and the perimeter of walls (which can be used to add shelves). If budget isn’t a problem and your senior loved one has a mezzanine, the latter can be renovated into a full new floor for storage.
Seniors crave independence as fiercely as young people do, and cleaning should not be an obstacle to this desire. By relying on assistance, establishing cleaning routines, and encouraging more minimalistic interiors, seniors can enjoy a cleaner, safer living space. In addition to daily cleaning, deep cleaning services should be offered as well. Professional services can be considered as an add-on at least during the spring season to ensure mold and other health threats are completely absent from their home.
Contribution by freelance writer Sally Preston