Spring Cleaning for Seniors: 6 Do’s and 1 Big Don’t
In Florida, spring doesn’t really mark the changing of the seasons the way it does further north. In areas with true winter weather, spring cleaning happens when the weather starts to warm up because people are opening their houses up for the first time in several months. In Florida, though, the time of year is more of a tradition than it is due to any connection with the weather.
As you start to plan this project, here are six important tips that are especially important for seniors, and one thing every senior should avoid:
1. Before you start, ask for some help.
Cleaning the house thoroughly is hard work, and some of it is physically strenuous. As we age, there are certain things that used to be easy for us and are now difficult if not impossible. That’s okay. It’s better to ask some of your family members or friends to help then it is to injure yourself out of pride. Plus, it makes the people who care about you feel good to help you when you need it.
2. Start with a checklist.
Spring cleaning can be a huge project that may seem overwhelming. Before you dust a single ledge or go anywhere near the vacuum, sit down and make a list of everything you want to accomplish. Start with the things that are most important to you and focus on ways to clean that will reduce stress and make you happier. If that means organizing family photos, prioritize that over chores that really don’t make much of a difference in your life.
3. Clean out your medicine cabinet.
This is as much a safety issue as it is a neatness issue. Go through all of your medicine containers, both prescription and over the counter, and properly dispose of any that have expired. If you’re not sure how to dispose of them, contact your area’s waste service to ask how. This will not only unclutter your medicine cabinet, it will protect you from becoming confused and taking the wrong medications at the wrong time.
4. Get rid of all the clutter.
We all have things that, while they are completely useless, we just don’t want to get rid of them. It’s time to be ruthless. Start two piles: one for things you want to keep and one four things you want to get rid of. Once you’re done, put the “keep” items away in an organized manner and either trash or donate the “get rid of” items. And consider this: The things you’re willing to donate, especially clothes, could make a huge difference in someone’s life.
5. If you haven’t used something in a long time, you probably don’t need it.
If you think about it, anything in your home that you haven’t used in the last year won’t missed if it’s gone. Those children’s book and toys that someone’s kids might play with someday? They’re much more likely to provide some happiness to a child if you pull them out of the garage and donate them to a kids’ charity. Plus, you’ll have a little less clutter in your house.
6. Check your fire extinguishers and smoke detectors.
Statistically, people 65 years of age and older are 2.5 times more likely to die in a fire than the overall U.S. population. Having a working fire extinguisher in the kitchen can help put an accidental fire out quickly… if you have one, and if it works. Smoke detectors are also an effective way to avoid being caught in a fire. However, it’s important to change the batteries twice a year. So, if you forgot to change them when daylight saving time started, make it part of your spring cleaning.
And finally, one thing to make sure you avoid.
Don’t overexert yourself. Even if you can’t find someone to help you, leave that incredibly heavy chest of drawers right where it is. Why? If you have any kind of heart condition or other medical issues, you could trigger a heart attack or stroke. Or, that heavy piece of furniture could tip over and fall on you. So just leave it until you can get someone to give you a hand.