Do you act as a family caregiver for elderly loved ones? If you do, you’re certainly not alone.
Everyday in this country, more than 10,000 adults reach retirement age. Millions of adults are responsible for providing care for an elderly family member — about 43 million people reportedly serve as unpaid caregivers, in fact. Of this group, millions more fall into what’s been called the “Sandwich Generation,” which refers to those adults tasked with caring for their senior parents and their own younger kids, all at the same time.
Does this sound familiar? As a loving and supportive family caregiver, you want what’s best for your aging parent or relative, at all times. Unfortunately, it’s also easy to dwell on the negative. If your senior family member lives alone, it can be scary to think of all the little things that could go wrong.
In particular? Here in the US, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall every 11 seconds. Slips and falls are the leading cause of trauma and fatal injury for older adults. And beyond that? What if your older loved one is having trouble seeing, and takes the wrong medication by mistake? What if they cause damage in the kitchen due to a fire or an accident?
It’s easy to focus on the negative — leading to more stress for yourself, and your senior loved ones. As a loving family caregiver, you deserve a break.
One key way to help keep your aging loved ones safe, secure, and independent — and to protect your own well-being and peace of mind — is to help ensure that the senior in your life is living in a safe, clean environment.
As you look for new and practical ways to give back to the older loved ones who once took care of you, focus on giving them a clean, safe, and harmonious home! Safeguarding your senior loved one’s home environment is a great first step in keeping them safe, healthy, and happy — while allowing you to focus on other important things in life with confidence and security.
Want to help the elder in your life keep their home clean, functional, and, above all, truly safe? Here are three key areas to start:
1.) Clear Out Clutter
The CDC and the AARP have great guides on helping make a senior’s living environment safer. And, reading both of these guides, one common theme becomes clear: To help protect your older loved ones, keep their homes free of excess clutter!
Decluttering is incredibly helpful for your older family for many reasons. The more clutter and debris that there is an older person’s house, the more obstacles there are for them to navigate around on a day-to-day basis. Keeping things out of the way and ensuring that living spaces are clear and clutter-free can help make it easier for your senior loved one to get around, helping prevent the potential for harmful falls or accidents. For instance? Your loved one with trouble standing and moving may be able to get from their couch to their bed more easily if there aren’t piles of junk in the way. Your older loved one may not have to spend as much time stooped over and looking through the kitchen cabinets if these spaces are cleared out, accessible, and streamlined. We could go on and on!
As an added bonus? Remember that research has demonstrated that decluttering can help promote calmness and peace. So, this chore is great for keeping a space clean and helping older adults to live a more balanced and fulfilling life, all at once.
2.) Take Stock and Reorganize
Are you helping your elderly family to stay organized? This commonsense task is especially key, since not only can clutter become hazardous, but not knowing where things are can become incredibly stressful, particularly for older adults. Take a look around your senior loved one’s space and focus on making things streamlined, simple, and easy to remember. The more variables you and your senior can manage together, the safer and better off your senior loved one might be.
One big thing not to overlook? As you declutter and reorganize, think about rearranging your loved one’s furniture to make things safer. Again, you might want to get rid of knick knacks or small obstacles that could fall, impede, or otherwise create obstructions for your loved one. Rugs, for instance, can pose a significant tripping and slipping hazard to seniors with more limited mobility.
You may even want to have a larger conversation about reconfiguring their home — for instance, you may wish to help your loved one reposition their bedroom so that it’s on the main floor, allowing them to use fewer steps every day. Of course, it’s always important to keep your loved one’s wants and wishes top of mind! This is all about protecting their independence and helping them live a more enriched life — so never forget to make things a discussion!
3.) Take Some Important Safety Precautions
In addition to helping your family members feel clean and organized, you may want to keep up with adding safety measures to their home, to help ensure that your loved ones are truly safe and sound, even when you’re not around to help.
Some precautions you can take are making simple fixes like adding rails to staircases, applying non-slip wax to floors, adding monitors and sensor alarms as needed, or making modifications to the bathroom, such as adding a raised toilet, grab bars in the shower, and so on.
It can also be helpful to double check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and make sure hallways, closets, and stairwells are properly lit. Similarly, you may want to help your loved one out with day to day maintenance. One big area that many people overlook? Older adults need clean, clear air to breathe — so focus on regularly cleaning out their air vents and changing their AC and furnace filters.
Similarly, helping your older family members keep up with their regular housekeeping tasks like sweeping and mopping floors, washing dishes, doing laundry, taking out the trash, and so on, is an incredibly generous way to contribute — while also helping your senior’s living environment remain as safe as can be.
Too Busy to Take It On Alone? Sweeping Dimensions is Here to Help!
We know that being a family caregiver can be draining and time-consuming. Though your heart is full of love, there are only so many hours in the day. When helping the senior in your life keep a clean home starts to feel like more than you can manage alone, sometimes it’s best to call in cleaning help!
When you need to call in the reinforcements, Sweeping Dimensions is here and ready to help you make the most of your valuable time. We’re always ready to take care of those everyday housekeeping chores and deep cleaning tasks , so you — and, most importantly, your senior loved ones — don’t have to!
In the long run, bringing on a professional cleaning service might just be one of the most important and necessary steps you can take to help care for your aging loved ones. Our comprehensive cleaning services can help make things easier for your senior family or friends. And meanwhile, our unbeatable service can give you back peace of mind, while still ensuring that your cleaning and organizing to-do lists get done!
With a professionally trained and uniformed staff, all of our cleanings are fully customizable to meet your unique needs. We bring all of the cleaning supplies and equipment needed to clean your home, with a focus on green, environmentally sound cleaning products. We also offer flexible time availability and can easily accommodate any of your or your senior loved one’s unique scheduling needs.
Want to trade tips and tricks with others caring for their senior loved ones? Join our community and keep the conversation going on Facebook! Ready to get started and see what SDCS can do for you? Get in touch today for your free estimate!