Senior Edition: Spring Cleaning


By Wende Kluener - For PCCOA



PREBLE COUNTY — The Preble County Council on Aging has several great opportunities for seniors.

Seniors Spring Cleaning Tips: How to Help Your Aging Loved One Tidy Up Their Home

Spring is a time notorious for cleaning, sorting, organizing, painting, opening the windows, cleaning up the yard – generally getting a fresh start after winter. While these tasks are definitely important, for seniors they may be difficult at best. Is there a senior you know who could use a helping hand with some “spring cleaning?” You can volunteer to help! Please consider the following tips from the Institute on Aging on assisting friends and loved ones with important tasks. For more information visit https://ioaging.org.

We all know how good it feels to live in a tidy, organized, clean home free of unnecessary clutter. But we also know how much energy it takes to achieve a clean house—especially after a long winter. So, if your aging loved one lives independently, it’s a good idea to help them do some spring cleaning and organizing to refresh their living space and improve their overall sense of well-being. Let’s look at the top five spring cleaning tips to try this season when helping your loved one spruce up their home.

Tip #1: Plan Well- It’s important to start the spring cleaning process by making sure that you and your aging loved one are on the same page with what needs to be done. I suggest making a nice cup of tea, sitting down together with a pen and paper, and creating a checklist of all the tasks that need to be done.

Once you’ve made the list, go through it and rate the items according to priority. Deep cleaning the bathroom, for example, may be high priority, whereas washing the windows from the outside may be low on the list. I find that cleaning is a lot more successful when you know exactly what needs to be done and in what order. Then, plan a day or two to get the cleaning done!

Tip #2: Invite Friends and Family- Cleaning is more fun when done in the presence of loved ones—plus it gets done a whole lot quicker. As soon as you settle on a date and time for the big clean, reach out to family and friends and ask if they would dedicate some time to helping your aging loved one out. Make the offer even more enticing by offering to provide lunch. You’re loved one would likely be happy to have a full house of people helping out and will enjoy having the opportunity to catch up with friends and family.

Tip #3: Delegate- It’s important to include your loved one in the spring cleaning process so that they feel they are contributing. It is their home after all, so try and let them take a leadership role. Remember, nobody likes to have someone come to their home and take it over! Allow them to choose the tasks they feel they can handle, the ones they’d feel more comfortable having you do, and the things the two of you can do together. Be sure to honor their physical limitations—vacuuming the crown molding or scrubbing the inside of the fridge take a great deal of strength and agility so they may not be the best tasks for them to do.

They may, for instance, prefer that you replace the light bulbs and clean the tub while they take care of the more personal tasks, like organizing their closet. Doing spring cleaning tasks together can actually be a good chance to bond with one another, as working cooperatively towards a common goal can strengthen relationships.

Tip #4: Check and File Paperwork- Papers pile up all too easily, so take the time to sit down with your loved one and go through all their loose paperwork, like bills or letters, file the ones they need and recycle the rest. This can be an excellent opportunity to make sure that your loved one has been staying on top of payments and keeping up with correspondence. Plus, it gives them the chance to open up to you about important things going on in their life that they want you to know about.

I’d also recommend using this time to ensure that your loved one’s living will and advanced directive are up to date. If they don’t have one, now is a good time to make one. Take advantage of the extra sunlight and increased energy that spring brings and help them get their affairs in order.

Tip #5: Improve Home Safety- Clutter isn’t just an eyesore, it can also be a safety hazard for aging adults living alone. Make it a priority to make sure their floors are free of any obstructions and that there are clear pathways to every room. Keep an eye out for loose carpeting, poorly placed decorations, and stray electrical wires. It’s also a good idea to give the smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector a check to make sure they are running optimally.

Speaking of safety, it’s a good idea to sit down with your loved one and go through their medicine cabinet, as they could have expired pills that they no longer need. Proper medication management will help ensure that they are taking the right medication and reduce the risk of them accidentally taking something that might be dangerous to their health. In fact, using a home safety checklist can make this task a whole lot easier and help make sure that you don’t miss anything that could pose a threat to your loved one’s safety.

The Gift of a Tidy Home – Once you’re all finished cleaning your loved one will have a nice tidy home to enjoy. It is, after all, incredibly uplifting to have a freshly cleaned living space. Not only will it boost their mood and make them feel more comfortable, but an organized, clean, de-cluttered home will help keep them safe and healthy–and that, perhaps, is the most important outcome of spring cleaning of all.

Institute on Aging offers a variety of programs and services that help aging adults live safely and independently in their homes. To learn more about how we may be able to help your aging loved one, contact us today.

Sponsor-a-Senior – Meals on Wheels

You can make a difference in a senior’s life by donating just $12.50 a week. That’s $2.50 per day; $50 a month or $600 a year. Any amount will help. Your donation provides so much more than a hot, nutritious meal. You help provide a visit by one of our trained drivers to bring not only a meal, but a wellness check, a smile and conversation, and help with tasks such as bringing in the mail. Our drivers look forward to checking on his/her seniors each week day and the seniors look forward to seeing our drivers. In fact, if the weather is bad, some of our seniors call in to make sure the drivers are going to be okay. No amount is too small. Please consider making a donation by calling -937-456-4947.

Drive Thru Thursdays

Reminder! Drive Thru Thursdays! You do not want to miss this weekly event, and we want to see you! Stop by from 2-3 p.m. each Thursday for a special treat. The weekly treats are always a surprise; we don’t even know what the treat will be! When we run out, we run out. If you would like to sponsor one or more of our Drive Thru Thursdays, contact Stacey Fullmer at sfullmer@prebleseniorecenter.org.

Online Zoom Classes

Spring is here! Get up and move with Maria and Holly as they guide you through super fun classes from chair yoga to belly dancing! Dust off your dancin’ shoes! We’ve added a virtual dance party too! Call (937) 456-4947 for more information.

Big announcement coming!

Get ready for a “members-only” announcement coming soon with exciting information! Not a member? Call (937) 456-4947 to join! Only $10 a year and as a member you get all the information first!

All activities originate from the Senior Activities Center at 800 East St. Clair St. in Eaton, via Zoom online classes unless otherwise mentioned in the post. Like our Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/preblecountycouncilonaging/ or give us a call at 937-456-4947. Visit our website at www.PrebleSeniorCenter.org. Membership at the Senior Center is $10 a year. In addition to other benefits, members automatically receive our bi-monthly “Senior Scene” newsletter that features all our latest news and activities.

By Wende Kluener

For PCCOA