Use Spring Cleaning for Senior Care Needs Check

Do you think your parent or grandparent may be at a point where they need caregiving services to help them better navigate their daily living as they deal with the challenges of medical illnesses or memory loss?  Are you noticing they are not keeping up with some of their household maintenance or staying active in their interests?  And do you know where they would like to be cared for should an emergency arise - in their home by a Senior Home Care Agency or in a nursing community?

It can be difficult to start the conversation about senior care needs with a loved one.  Holidays are often the only time relatives are able to spend lengthy time with their older family members yet they are not necessarily the best time to have these conversations about life changes since holidays are often already stressful times for seniors as they are reminded of lost loved ones and the realities of growing older.

Taking the time for a spring cleaning visit can provide an opportunity to participate in a needed activity with your senior relatives while also checking up on their care needs. Parents usually are accepting of this as you are assisting with a needed task. And, while performing spring cleaning, you will have a closer look into their daily living habits to see if there are any additional care needs or medical conditions that should be checked to assist your senior loved ones to enjoy healthy aging.

Catching a senior's medical and care needs early will assist in slowing the progression of some age-related illnesses and assist in maintaining a safe environment for the senior as they age. Seniors often will not share signs of age-related illnesses because of their fears associated with dealing with the new medical conditions and other times they simply do not notice the changes because they develop slowly. Spring cleaning offers the perfect opportunity to interact with a senior and to do a health check-up on their activities of daily living.

Here are some senior spring cleaning tips and ways to incorporate checking on potential age-related diseases and conditions such as hearing loss, vision loss, weight gain, arthritis and forgetfulness as you are assisting your senior loved one with their spring cleaning.

  • Closets: Reorganize and assist with storing the out-of-season clothing and discarding the out-of-style clothing. Take a look to make sure clothing is being kept clean and well maintained.   Alert: Seniors developing vision loss, such as Macular Degeneration or memory loss, such as Alzheimer's Disease may begin to wear the same clothing over and over again and not keep up with laundry regularly.
  • Bathroom: Clean and organize the bathroom medicine cabinet and discard old or unused items. Check to see if the shower or bathtub is being used regularly and if anything is in need of repair. Check medicine cabinet and toss or remove any medications which are no longer prescribed.   Alert: Are non-skid rugs in place? Are there any new medicines or care products which would indicate new medical conditions you may not be aware of? Is it time for a grab-bar or raised toilet seat for safety? Bathrooms offer easy opportunities for falls for seniors with mobility issues which may be caused by age-related medical conditions or side-effects of medications.
  • Kitchen: Clean out the refrigerator. Are there any buried treasures with expiration dates long passed? Does it look like they are eating a nutritious diet?  Check all appliances to make sure they are functioning properly and that there have been no equipment damages due to misuse. Alert: Eating regular meals is important for good health at all ages. Consider what health conditions or medications may require special dietary needs. Check for sodium levels in prepared foods. Discuss the daily meal plans to see if additional kitchen tools might make meal preparation easier or if the senior needs help in diversifying their menu.
  • Living Room: Remove and clean curtains, vacuum and shampoo the carpet and dust and clean furniture. Are there any rugs or mats which could lend to tripping or falling more easily? Does the furniture need to be re-arranged for easier use?  Alert: Check to see if it looks like a daily routine is being maintained and notice if reading or television watching have decreased which could be signs of vision or hearing loss.
  • Bedroom: Change bed linens and check to see if bedding has been changed regularly and if they have been sleeping in the bed. Do they need new bed linens or is it time to discuss a new mattress to assist with more comfortable sleep? Alert: Seniors will sometimes begin to sleep in an easy chair or sofa instead of their bed due to a variety of conditions from depression to new physical conditions such as back, neck or leg pain or because they are becoming confused about time of day.
  • Driving: If the senior is still driving, take a ride with them to the grocery store or to run an errand to make sure they are driving safely. Check the car and garage to make sure there are no dents or damages from inappropriate driving.  Alert: Seniors who inappropriately drive risk their lives and the lives of others on the road. Learn about the senior driving laws in each state and how to find assistance if it is time to take the keys away. Office: Confirm the names and contact information for all the medical doctors and their pharmacy. Update list of medical conditions and medications. Confirm Power of Attorney for financial matters and for healthcare.

While engaged in spring cleaning, you can find a time to talk about the long-term plans for senior care by discussing what otehrs are doing and finding out their current plans for care should the need arise.  Confirm what their plan for senior care needs would be and their retirement care budget so you can be prepared in case of an emergency. Discuss long-term care insurance policy options and the financial capacity to pay for private care, as Medicare does not provide for long-term care. Usually seniors will agree to have you help with their spring cleaning and because you are spending interactive time with them, you will be more likely to notice any changes in their care needs and make necessary arrangements in order to prevent a medical emergency later.

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Comments (2) -

  • Great idea - it is so difficult to start these conversations with loved ones.

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