Family caregivers often have hectic days. If you’re a sandwich generation caregiver, juggling a career with the needs of your family and an aging parent can make projects like spring cleaning feel especially overwhelming. It might be tempting to let things slide this year and skip deep cleaning your home or your senior loved one’s.
Refreshing your home, however, does more than just make it look tidier. There are proven health benefits associated with decluttering and cleaning a home. A few of the most common include:
- Boosts mood and improves focus
- Reduces stress and brings peace
- Lowers risk for a fall-related injury
- Identifies potential maintenance issues
- Deters insects and other critters
- Provides great exercise
If your budget won’t extend to hiring outside help, getting organized so you can work efficiently is essential. Here are some tips for conducting a thorough cleaning of your parent’s house this spring.
Room-by-Room Cleaning Checklist for Seniors and Caregivers
- Start in the kitchen: Kitchens are some of the busiest rooms in the house. This can make it hard to keep them clean. Take time this spring to do the following:
- Wipe cabinets down inside and out. Replace shelf paper as needed.
- Take everything out of the refrigerator and wipe it down with hot, soapy water. Use bleach wipes for hard-to-reach spaces. As you empty the refrigerator, check expiration dates on condiments, dressings and other items.
- Inspect and clean the oven. If it doesn’t have a self-cleaning feature, purchase a fume-free, easy-to-use oven cleaner.
- Change the exhaust system on the range to reduce the risk of fire. This task is often overlooked, and that can lead to trouble. Check your oven’s manual for directions on how to do it, or look it up on the manufacturer’s website.
- Empty out the pantry and thoroughly wipe down shelves. Dispose of items that are expired or have been around too long.
- Scrub the bathrooms: While people routinely clean the bathroom, it likely requires extra attention a few times each year:
- Replace the shower curtain liner, wipe down the curtain rod and wash the curtain. If the shower has doors instead of a curtain, scrub it well using these tips.
- Get rid of any rugs in the bathroom. These present a serious fall risk to older adults.
- Sort through the medicine cabinet and safely dispose of no-longer-used or expired medications.
- Clean out the linen closet and donate older linens (especially towels) to a local animal shelter.
- Deep clean the toilet and floor surrounding it.
- Devote time to the main bedroom: Take some extra time to clean the bedroom your senior loved one uses most often:
- Wash or dry clean curtains, comforter, shams, dust ruffle, blankets, mattress cover and rugs.
- Eliminate cobwebs on the ceiling and ceiling fan using a long-handled duster.
- Remove dust and grime from blinds using a product specifically designed to clean them.
- Clean baseboards, window frames and furniture. It might help to vacuum them first and then use cleaning wipes.
- If you can enlist a strong helper, flip or turn the mattress and box spring, making sure to wipe down both sides as you do.
- Use this cleaning time to encourage your senior loved one to go through their closet and donate clothing and accessories they no longer use or wear.
- Declutter and clean living areas: Books, magazines and other clutter often build up in dens and living rooms. Before you start to deep clean, take time to declutter these areas. Box up items you need to drop off at your local recycling center or book donation site. Then tackle tasks like:
- Dust woodwork, ceiling fans and lighting fixtures.
- Wipe down the television and other electronics, where static is more likely to attract dust.
- Vacuum under the sofa, as well as over and under sofa cushions. Remove slipcovers from furniture, if applicable, and wash them.
- Give hardwood or tile flooring a good polishing or schedule an appointment to have the carpets cleaned professionally.
- Take curtains down to either wash or dry clean. Scrub the window frames and curtain rods.
While this list is lengthy, all of these tasks aren’t intended to be completed in a single day unless you have others volunteering to pitch in. Take your time and maybe tackle only one room each day or week.
Talk About Moving to Assisted Living
Completing household tasks together can provide a low-key opportunity to talk with your parent about how they are managing daily tasks. They may be struggling but not want to worry you. It might lead to a conversation about the benefits offered by assisted living communities, or at least plant the seed that it might be time for a change.
To find a location near you, visit our website.