Renew your home with six essential spring cleaning tips for seniors
In early spring, when the purple hyacinths have broken through once hard ground and green buds have awakened on once stark trees, people often feel inspired to poke their brooms and mops into dusty closets, neglected attics and cobwebbed basements. Your parents may also want to freshen up their environment, so they have recruited your support.
Before you embark on this invigorating enterprise, read on for some tips that will help keep it on track.
1. Get organized
Spring cleaning can be a major project, so never begin the scrubbing down or the tidying up on a whim. Instead, plan out the project, writing down the rooms that need cleaning along with a list of possible tasks, then prioritize them and create a tentative schedule with estimated timelines. Once you have a plan in place, arrange a block of time (or several) for the actual cleaning and straightening up.
2. Consult your parents
Make sure to include your parents in the planning as well as in the actual cleaning and organizing. Although mom and dad might not be able to rearrange furniture or clean hard-to-reach places like ceilings or the tops of cupboards, they can probably do lower impact chores like sorting clothes, wiping out kitchen drawers or sweeping the garage.
3. Recruit helpers
Turn spring cleaning into a social event by enlisting support from other family members or friends. Alternately, if relatives and friends are busy, consider recruiting a neighbor or hiring a professional cleaner or organizer to help (even if your parents aren’t ready to make a downsized or senior living move, a senior move manager could help them declutter). Having someone else spruce up the house for the new season can help take the stress off you and your parents, allowing you to spend quality time together shopping or enjoying a movie instead.
4. Eliminate clutter
Spring is a great time to clear away possessions that are no longer used. If your parents are ready to lighten their load, start with decluttering. You’ll find it easier to clean when fewer pieces of furniture and knickknacks stand in your way. When it comes to rehousing no longer needed items, look to family and friends or donating to The Salvation Army or other charitable organizations. Your parents could also wait for a neighborhood yard sale, where they could make some mad money and meet some new people to boot.
5. Create a safe environment
Along with cleaning, spring is a time to investigate and eliminate fall and other safety hazards. If your parents’ home is packed full of possessions they won’t let go of yet, at least create clutter-free walkways in every room. Also, look to replace or tape down throw rugs, which can easily be tripped over, and check whether rooms and hallways have sufficient light. You can easily replace dim or burnt out light bulbs or, if that doesn’t do the trick, suggest a shopping expedition for new lighting. Expired medication can also be a hazard, so be sure to check your parents’ medicine cabinet and gather any no longer used pills for safe disposal.
6. Don your detective’s hat
A few days of dusting and cleaning the nooks and crannies of your parents’ house can help you zero in on how they are doing overall. Are things in good order? Or did you notice a refrigerator full of bad meat and wilted produce? If so, consider broaching the topic of senior living where your parents could rely on light housekeeping services and maintenance, eliminating the need to spring clean a whole house again.
Although this deep cleaning can be a rejuvenating ritual, chances are mom and dad would also enjoy freeing up more time to travel, spend time with friends and grandkids or try out new activities. They also might be delighted to discover the many financial benefits of retirement communities.
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