I think it’s safe to say there’s not a house, apartment, hut, tepee, igloo or lean-to on the planet that couldn’t use a little spring cleaning.
Tis the season to help the senior in your life clean house—and also spot potential problems (piles of unpaid bills, safety hazards, or out-of-date food in the pantry) in the senior’s home.
The hardest part is getting started. A first step is to create a list with the senior’s help, prioritizing based on interest (the flower pots on the walkway) and necessity (an odorous refrigerator).
Besides the usual sweeping and scrubbing, a spring cleaning list should also contain reminders to check the pantry for expired food, the medicine cabinet for expired drugs, floors for loose throw rugs and power cords, and hallways for any light bulbs and smoke detector batteries that need replacing.
Be sure to leave enough time to finish each task (as well as time to enjoy it!) before moving on to the next item on the list. And don’t be shy about enlisting help from other family members (why not provide lunch for an afternoon of lawn cleanup?) or from professionals.
Another tip is to make sure – physical/mental levels permitting – to involve the senior from start to finish. Some seniors may not be able to offer much in the way of physical help, but keeping them looped-in and asking for constant advice and feedback lends to a feeling of ownership and accomplishment. Put your mom in charge of lemonade and your dad in charge of the radio. Make sure a senior has a part, no matter how small.
A critical part of spring cleaning is most certainly de-cluttering, but keep in mind that some of the “worthless trinkets” you come across in a senior’s home may very well be sentimental treasures. Always clean another person’s home with a heightened sense of compassion. Sometimes it’s best to politely inquire about that dusty pile of papers– great stories are sure to follow.
Spring cleaning can be just another chore; it can also be a special way to uncover a loved one’s memories and milestones. Enjoy!