It’s that time of year – Spring cleaning! For many, it can be a fruitful effort. However, for some, the task of cleaning is harder than it looks. The struggle can be even more challenging for older adults. While many seniors spend the majority of their time in a few rooms of the house, it is important to make sure clutter is removed from their main living spaces and that the area is pleasant and free of hidden dangers.
Take a look around. Are there winter blankets to pack away for the season? Are there piles of mail or expired food in the pantry? Is the space dark and depressing? It is time to clean house and brighten up the rooms. Spring cleaning, if you didn’t know, can also be a great mood booster!
To get started creating a comfortable space where older adults can happily spend time, follow these tips:
- Schedule it. Just like a doctor’s appointment, block off time in your and your loved-one’s schedule that you both can devote to spring cleaning. You may want to knock everything out in one weekend, or take it one chore or room at a time.
- Get your older adult involved
- This is their space. Be sure to collaborate with them about changes.
- Help them feel excited about getting a room or home makeover.
- Tackle the rooms that they spend the most time in first.
- Declutter and remove tripping hazards
- Swap out any sharp-edged furniture for softer, safer items.
- Remove throw and area rugs.
- Tape down or remove any exposed electrical cords.
- Keep things simple. Donate or sell excess furniture.
- Do not use the room as a storage area.
- Keep only things that are actively being used.
- Consider storage baskets or plastic containers for organization.
- Brighten the space
- Improve lighting by buying brighter lights and opening the curtains.
- Hang up a few large pictures. Anything that triggers happy memories is great. Ideas include:
- Family photos
- Nature scenes
- Images from hobbies, like fishing or gardening
- Cityscapes from favorite vacations
- Keep frequently used things in reach
- Make note of the things that your loved-one reaches for constantly.
- Figure out how to keep those items within arm’s reach of their usual seat. This could include:
- Glass of water
- TV remote control
- Reading glasses
- Books or puzzles
- Bring nature inside
- Add some plants. Whether they are fake or real, they bring freshness and life.
- Add natural items from favorite activities, like:
- Shells collected from the beach
- Flowers from the farmer’s market
- A bowl of lemons
- Address any problems you uncover while cleaning. Don’t let the fruits of your labor revert back into clutter in less than six months. If you discover your loved-one has piles of unpaid bills, expired food in the pantry, or has not been cleaning up after the pets, perhaps it is time for some extra help around the house. A little housekeeping help from a caregiver a few hours a week can help keep the home clean and offer your loved-one companionship and support on a regular basis.
How else can you help someone else declutter their home? What are some ways you can prevent clutter from occurring? Be sure to leave your questions and suggestions in the comment box below!