Do your countertops look like a department store display of kitchen gadgets and small appliances? Do you have so much furniture lying around that your living room is looking more like a garage sale? If your answer is yes or you had to stop and think about it, it’s time for some spring cleaning and clutter removal. Spring is the season that inspires us to make changes and freshen up everything in our lives, get rid of junk, and make our homes clean, bright, and welcoming again. As you begin the task of spring cleaning it's important to keep safety first. Here are five tips to help seniors get their spring cleaning done safely.
- Clean out the medicine cabinet. The medicine cabinet can be a dangerous place if it’s not properly maintained. Some things to look for are medications without proper labels, old prescription medications that aren’t needed anymore, and prescription and over-the-counter medications that are past their expiration date. Some medications lose potency after they’ve expired, and some can potentially increase in potency or break down and become dangerous. Properly dispose of any expired or discontinued medications as well as those without labels to prevent potentially life-threatening medication errors. And if medications are stored in the bathroom, move them to a cool, dark, dry place out of the reach of pets and visiting children. Bathrooms are too warm and humid to safely store medications there.
- Clear out the clutter. A cluttered environment with a lot of “stuff” lying around is a fall hazard. You can reduce the risk of tripping and falling by removing anything cluttering your walkways. This may include things like unnecessary furniture and unsecured throw rugs. Anything that keeps you from moving about your home freely needs to go. Place them in storage, donate them to a local charity, or place the items up for sale in a local consignment shop. Work through all of your rooms removing unneeded items and placing infrequently used appliances into storage. Leave only your most frequently used items out for easy access. Organize kitchen cabinets and clear the fridge and pantry of stale or outdated food while you’re at it.
- Create an emergency plan and post emergency numbers by the phone. Do you know what you need to do if you fall, someone tries to break into your home or you have an accident in the kitchen? Do you have all of your emergency numbers posted clearly by every phone and programmed into your speed dial? If you answered no, now is a great time to make sure that you understand how the emergency response system in your community works and how to access it. Get an emergency plan in place and post those important numbers clearly beside every telephone. It can be difficult to recall this information in an emergency.
- Do not attempt to move heavy objects or tackle hard-to-reach tasks by yourself. As we age it becomes easier for us to injure ourselves and more difficult for us to heal. Guard yourself against injuries by getting someone to help you move furniture or other heavy objects. And stay off of chairs and ladders. Ask for help changing light bulbs or cleaning those spots you can’t reach from the floor. Investing in lightweight, cordless cleaning tools can make many cleaning tasks easier and eliminate the hazard of tripping over cords strewn about.
- Check your smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and emergency kit. Now is a good time to do a test to make sure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are operating correctly and check fire extinguishers are easy to access, full, and not expired. And every home should have an emergency kit that should be checked at least twice per year and restocked as needed. An emergency kit should include things like a flashlight with fresh spare batteries, wound care items like bandaids, antibiotic ointment, bandages, scissors, and tape, basic medications such as pain reliever, allergy medication, digestive medications, protein bars, and water, and a current medication and contact list as well as at least a weeks supply of all current medications. It’s also a good idea to have a 3-7 day supply of non-perishable emergency food that doesn’t require cooking and a week's worth of drinking water on hand.
Following these tips can help seniors spring clean safely and stay prepared for any emergencies that might arise. Spring is the perfect time to tackle these tasks and make sure everything is in order when you need it. At Ashbridge Manor Senior Living we pride ourselves on creating an environment that enables seniors to lead a fulfilling, socially active lifestyle and independent lifestyle. When it’s time to transition to a senior living facility, contact our professional staff members and we can help make it easy. You can find us at 971 E. Lancaster Avenue in Downingtown, PA, call 610.269.8800, or contact us online for more information. Ask us about our move-in special!