Seniors often develop difficulties in keeping their homes clean, tidy, and well organized. Excessive clutter can make an elderly person feel mentally and physically drained, especially when they think about de-junking and trying to maintain a cleaner home.
Consider these 5 tips for helping a senior face their mess and create a safer, more peaceful, home environment.
1. Make a Prioritized & Detailed Cleaning List Beforehand
Involve the senior in the planning stage. By making a prioritized, detailed list an insurmountable task turns into smaller chores that feel manageable. Schedule short cleaning sessions that everyone involved can easily handle physically and in time the house will be clean and tidy.
2. Set Aside Time to Organize or Get Rid of Household Clutter
Some seniors are completely unaware of how many things they have accumulated over the years and have clutter blocking the hallways or doorways inside their home. This can be a risk factor for falls so it's important to clear all walkways in and around the home.
Set aside a time to organize and/or get rid of household clutter. A caregiver can plan on using a whole day, or weekend, to make a significant dent in the amount of clutter throughout an entire house.
Some ideas for removing household clutter include:
Start in the Room that is Most Used
Do Room by Room Clutter Control
Use Bags or Baskets to Sort Items in Each Room
Involve the Senior in Deciding Which Items Stay and Which are Donated or Thrown Away
Include Closet & Cabinet Organizing and Cleaning
Safely Dispose of Old Medicines, Household Cleaning Supplies, & Expired Food
3. Involve the Senior & Ask for Help from Other Family Members
It is always better to involve a senior in any type of organization or cleaning of their home. What might seem like junk to a caregiver could be something cherished or sentimental for the elderly person.
If you are taking care of an elderly parent or other family member, it can be difficult to keep up with all of the chores necessary to keep their home in order. Call a family meeting to discuss ways other family members can help with large cleaning efforts.
An alternative is to hire either a cleaning service or enlist the help of friends and neighbors. In-home care services are another way to get help caring for a loved one and keeping their space clean as many home care providers will perform light housekeeping.
4. Give Seniors Smaller Cleaning/Organizing Tasks that They Are Able to Perform
Even if your senior has limited mobility, he/she can still be involved with cleaning and organization tasks. Give your senior small knickknacks to dust, silverware to polish, or clothes to sort while sitting down. Encourage the senior to sort through piles of accumulated papers.
5. Plan, Schedule & Implement Deep Cleaning & Organization Sessions
If a senior is still living in their own home it likely is not being thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis. Family members or caregivers can assist with deep cleaning the house by taking the time to plan, schedule, and implement deep cleaning and organization sessions.
Helping an elderly person live in a clean home takes patience and planning but by thoughtfully involving the senior in the cleaning process, asking for help, and staying organized it’s possible for the home to receive the attention it needs to remain a comfortable, safe environment.
Emily Smith is a professional freelance writer with a passion for elder care born from a close relationship with her grandmother. She’s a frequent contributor and can often be found trail hiking in her native Utah.