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Get Ready for Spring Cleaning

Posted on March 11th, 2016

With the onset of spring comes the urge to clean the house, open the windows and let in some fresh air! It makes us feel good to clear out the dust and organize the clutter. And we feel even better when we throw out or donate the things we no longer need. Spring cleaning is an annual tradition in households everywhere and is especially important in homes where seniors or those with mobility limitations may have fallen behind on regular chores.

Experts recommend creating a cleaning to-do list to stay organized and not get overwhelmed. Make sure to use the right cleaning tools, such as a long-handled dustpan, to allow sweeping to be done without too much bending and reaching. Other tips include cleaning each room from top down (starting with ceiling fans and cobwebs in the high corners and ending with the floors), and moving from one side of the room to the other to avoid cleaning the same area twice. Keep in mind that reorganizing a home can do wonders in terms of helping seniors easily access the things they use most. Being able to reach kitchen items without climbing or stretching, for example, can help make daily living stress and injury free.

Take this opportunity to not only freshen up your home or the home of an elderly loved one but also to assess if any safety hazards need to be tended to, such as replacing light bulbs to keep hallways bright and getting rid of throw rugs to avoid a potential fall. In the home of a senior or older adult with physical challenges, consider making some larger modifications to ensure safety. These might include adding handrails to stairways, installing grab bars or other tub-accessibility enhancements in bathrooms, or putting ramps in place, if needed.

In addition to your regular cleaning agenda, here are some deeper cleaning ideas to get started:

  • Dust ceiling fans
  • Clean windows, window treatments and screens
  • Wipe down walls and baseboards
  • Sweep and mop floors, vacuum and shampoo rugs
  • Clean out the bathroom medicine cabinet, making sure all medication is properly labeled and disposing of anything that is expired or no longer needed
  • Replace the shower curtain liner if necessary
  • Clean the inside of the oven and other small appliances
  • Sanitize the inside of the refrigerator and throw away expired food
  • Organize the kitchen pantry by moving commonly used items within easy reach and throwing away expired items
  • Replace batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, and check alarm systems and fire extinguishers
  • Organize clothing in closets and donate unwanted items and anything you haven't worn in the past year
  • Wash all bedding and flip/rotate the mattress (be sure to get help with the mattress, if needed)
  • Organize relevant financial, health and legal documents such as bank statements, an advanced-health-care-directive or a power-of-attorney form
  • Shred paperwork that is no longer needed
  • Clean the dryer and vents (enlist the help of a professional)
  • Wash pet bedding and toys, if you have any four-legged roommates

If you still have some energy left, don't forget about the outside of the house! Take a look at gutters and downspouts to see if they need to be cleaned out, remove dead leaves and branches from your lawn and garden, and clean off your deck/patio and any outdoor furniture. These are the perfect chores for which to hire professional help. Above all, make sure to ask for help as needed for all your spring cleaning needs. Too much bending, heaving lifting and climbing ladders could pose a safety risk, and being injured is no way to spend your spring! Remember, do not participate in any activities that may put you at risk of injury.

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