Although spring may seem like it’s been a long time coming, it is finally here. One of the things that comes along with spring is the feeling we have to declutter, clean our homes and clear out the garage. That’s right—spring cleaning.
Spring cleaning gives us a chance to start the year with a fresh mindset. Seniors are no exception, but as they age it gets harder and harder to manage a full house cleaning on their own. Here are five ways in which you can help your senior loved one with their spring cleaning while still encouraging their independence.
Plan for a Full Day
Cleaning always takes a little bit longer than you think it should. You probably notice this working on your own chores, and helping someone who moves a bit slower is going to add a few more hours to a cleaning process. Picking a day well in advance gives everyone who will be involved the chance to prepare and get ready ahead of time.
Planning ahead also gives you plenty of time to gather supplies. Things like boxes for packing things in as you declutter and extra cleaning products for deep cleaning may take a bit more time to buy and gather. You want to make sure you don’t need to halt cleaning and run to the store on the big day.
Ask Others to Help You
Don’t take on an entire project by yourself! Enlist the help of some other family and friends to help you and your aging family member. You can break down tasks so everyone has something to do that fits their skill set and ability. The whole day can go by much faster with extra hands. Even having someone stop by for a few hours can make a big difference.
While many people are going to be happy to help out, you can always consider offering snacks and dinner as incentives. Sometimes people are much more agreeable when there is a promise of a meal to follow.
Make a Checklist
Planning ahead by making a list can help you as you prepare for the big cleaning day. You won’t have to worry about forgetting certain chores or leaving something out that you meant to do when you have a solid plan of attack.
Take your loved one and go through the entire home and write down exactly what you want to get done and how you want to do it. Writing it all down will help you remember exactly what you want to tackle and it allows you to organize your day more efficiently. We'll get you started with some of the big ones in the next section.
Go Room to Room
As you go around, plan out your cleaning room-by-room to ensure you stay organized and see everything that you want to accomplish. In each room take note of what needs to be done, such as:
In the Kitchen
- Empty out the fridge
- Clean surfaces
- Clean the oven and range
- Clean appliances like the dishwasher and microwave.
- Reorganize drawers and pantry
- Sanitize cutting boards and knives
- Eliminate unnecessary dishes and small appliances
In the Bathroom
- Scrub out shower
- Empty cabinets
- Disinfect countertops
- Deep clean the toilet
- Clean exhaust fan
- Clean the floors
- Go through medicines and make sure all prescriptions are up to date
In the Bedrooms
- Flip the mattress
- Dust thoroughly
- Polish wood furniture
- Organize clothes and switch out seasonal clothing
- Clean under the bed
- Sort out closets and drawers
- Wash all linens
In the Living Room and Family Areas
- Clean dust off of ceilings
- Vacuum or wash furniture
- Air out rugs
- Dust fans, lamps, bookshelves, and pictures
- Disinfect door knobs and light switches
- Shampoo carpets
- Declutter knick-knacks and decorations
Keep Your Loved One Involved
Don’t have your loved one just sit on the sidelines while you do all the work. Find tasks they can do to help out and allow them to be a part of the cleaning process with you. Simply informing them of what you do as you go along is a major way to keep them invested.
Ask your family member before making big changes, like moving furniture and reorganizing closets. If you plan on donating or selling some things to help declutter, make sure to check in with them before you make decisions. Including your loved one lets them know that you respect their wishes and appreciate their help.
Spring cleaning is a yearly tradition that allows people to start the year feeling refreshed and clean. You can help your elderly family member by lending a hand and helping them out as we all begin to enjoy the spring weather.