As the weather warms and things begin to thaw, many of us also have a general routine of spring maintenance.
For aging seniors, some of these routine tasks around the home can be difficult to take on, especially if they have mobility issues. There are several ways you can assist your senior to help get their home ready for spring and ensure a safe, secure environment inside and out.
Here are 5 specific ways you can help your senior loved one with spring maintenance:
- Inspect the medicine cabinet. This is a good time to go through your loved one’s medicine cabinet and purge any expired, unused medication. Also, be sure the medicines they take daily are stored properly – in a cool, dry, dark place. If you need information and tips on the safe disposal of medications, visit the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
- Change smoke detector batteries. Periodically checking smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and emergency kits is always a good idea. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends testing smoke detectors at least once a month, and batteries should be replaced at least twice a year. A good way to help remember to do this is to replace the batteries when you change your clocks for daylight saving time — when you spring forward or fall back. Because smoke detectors are typically located on the ceiling or high on the wall, their location presents a fall hazard for the elderly. Helping your senior with this important task can reduce their fall risk.
- Help with general cleaning. Spring is the perfect time to clean areas of the home that often are neglected. Clean window casings and baseboards, tops of cabinets and ceiling fans. Launder or dry-clean fabric draperies and clean wood and vinyl blinds. Vacuum upholstered furniture and get carpets professionally cleaned.
- Clear up clutter. Cleaning up clutter should be part of an overall spring maintenance routine. Maintaining a clear walkway for seniors inside the home can help prevent falls. Pick up anything on the floor they could trip over, such as rugs and unnecessary furniture. If cords to lamps and other things become a tripping hazard, consider moving anything that is plugged in to a different area of the home.
- Do a home safety check. It is important to make sure aging seniors living at home feel safe. In addition to de-cluttering and removing potential hazards in key areas of the home, it might be time to make some simple, inexpensive changes. These might include: Adding secure railings to both sides of stairs, inside and outside the home; making sure the home has adequate light by adding brighter bulbs to lamps, nightlights in hallways and motion lights around outdoor walkways; or adding grab bars inside and outside the tub or shower, as well as next to the toilet. Depending on need and mobility, consider adding a shower chair or installing a hand-held shower.
FirstLight Home Care – South Sound can assist family caregivers and the seniors they care for with a variety of light housekeeping tasks, such as cleaning and changing smoke detector batteries, through our Companion Care Services. Our professional Olympia caregivers also provide Personal Care Services to aid and assist with the activities of daily living.