Spring is a great time to do some deep cleaning for seniors.
Spring cleaning is a usual activity that most of us have learned to do. Easter decorating, open windows, fresh air, and sunshine are great motivators for participation. Growing up, my mom would move all the furniture, clean windows, wash all the curtains and scrub all the floors. I am not sure how she did it, as even the thought of all of that makes me tired! However, I do think making a routine of reorganizing and cleaning out is extremely helpful, especially for the health and wellness of seniors.
Common areas for seniors that need to be cleaned out regularly.
Spring cleaning for seniors may require a unique thought process and framework. Prevention of falls and medication safety are two of the greatest concerns for seniors. Rather than just deep cleaning windows and floors, a spring clean for seniors should include safety focused factors. Spring cleaning could begin with reassessing accessibility and safety of entrances and bathrooms, discarding expired and unsafe items, reorganizing and restocking bedside and living area nooks, sanitizing all handles and handheld items, and promoting healthy memory with daily activities.
Spring cleaning safety for seniors:
List of recommended items:
If you are a senior deep cleaning your own home, you may want to pay attention to your health as you work. Allow yourself more time to perform duties than you did in the past. Take rest breaks, and stay hydrated during your workday. Use good body mechanics with lifting, bending, reaching and squatting. Likewise, ask for help with activities that could put you at risk of falling: climbing onto chairs or carrying heavy items up or down stairs. Use the time for spring cleaning to reassess any equipment or adjustments needed to improve safety with walking, transfers (getting up out of chairs) and bathroom safety. A spring refresh can be a great time to restart and repost your exercises, a walking program, add memory games, and renew healthy eating habits.
Here are a few checklist ideas to help you polish your safety with spring cleaning:
1 Assess the pathway from the car to the front door. Cleaning and sweeping it is great, but also consider safety issues! If there are steps to enter, a rail or grab bar will improve safety. Likewise, rugs at the door should not be loose or mobile. Make sure the locks and light bulbs work well.
2 Look at the main areas of living: bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and “TV room”. There should be a clear path to get to and from all of those areas. It’s great to wash blankets, vacuum couches, and fluff pillows. However, it is even better to also remove loose blankets, dragging cords, scattered magazines and clothes lying around the floor near the bed or chair. You could add a side rail to your bed if it is difficult getting in and out, and make sure the lights are easy to access and working. Organize the side tables and toss expired toiletries and meds, and add a few memory games. (affiliate link)
3 Wipe down the kitchen cabinets and counters, but also check the furniture that you sit in. Make sure the chairs being used are safe and supportive, and not too low. Armrests are helpful for sitting balance support and improved ability to get up safely. Remove unsteady chairs, and replace a low or mushy chair that is difficult to get up out of.
4 Check placement of frequently used kitchen and bathroom tools so they are easy to reach, which will limit reaching and bending which may contribute to falls. Make sure to search for and discard old food from the pantry, fridge, and freezer! Update emergency numbers and medication list, and toss expired or unneeded medications and out of date over the counter meds.
Health and wellness organizational handouts available on Creative hoMe therapy at Eetsy
Add a toilet paper/ wipe stand to help you keep a bin of wipes close by for better hygiene. Likewise, a new toothbrush, and new shaving supplies might be helpful. (affiliate link)
5 There are many varieties of seats and supports to use in your bathroom to improve safety. I highly recommend pursing an individualized assessment from an Occupational Therapist if you are struggling with bathroom safety.
6 Don’t forget about checking the fit and safety of hearing aids, safety jewelry and their battery supply. Ensure any glasses are updated and clean. Discard old worn out shoes and slippers- check the bottoms for wear. Get rid of clothes that drape at the feet. Check the reachers to make sure they still work and have a few spread throughout the home. (affiliate link)
Check safety of devices like walkers, and cane tips periodically for wear.
Super Spring Cleaning freebie checklist for seniors:
Check out this free printable checklist with everything I could think of for spring cleaning for seniors! Although I am a physical therapist, I am not your personal physical therapist. This information is for educational purposes only. Please see the medical disclaimer. If you like this checklist, there is a 10 checklist packet of safety and wellness checklists available on Creative Home Therapy at Etsy!
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Reduce health risk by keeping yourself or clients/patients organized and on track with senior focussed handouts:
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