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Simplifying Housekeeping for Seniors

Maintaining a household fills up a substantial part of most people's days. Most of us are proud of our homes and work over the years to improve and beautify them. As we age, those tasks can get harder, take longer, and even be dangerous, such as making trips to a basement laundry room.

Failing to keep up with household chores can not only make a home less comfortable and safe, but it can also be demoralizing and depressing. Here are some tips to start simplifying housekeeping before it becomes overwhelming. 

Figure out the Cleaning Basics

You may have spent years keeping your house in tip-top shape with frequent polishing, dusting, cleaning blinds and draperies, steam-cleaning upholstery, cleaning ceiling fans, washing windows, and more. All of those are important parts of maintaining your home, but at some point you may need to slow down and wait longer between some tasks. The minimum for frequent chores should include:

●     Getting and Preparing Healthy Food

●     Putting Trash out for Collection

●     Washing Dishes

●     Washing Clothes and Bedding

●     Kitchen and Bath Quick Cleaning

Beyond that, cut yourself a break if you run out of steam and can't get to everything. Try choosing one of the bigger tasks each week or two.

Ask for Specific Help

Friends and family who visit are always happy to help out, but often don't know what you need, or may not want to make you feel embarrassed or uncomfortable by asking.  Some tasks that can be much easier with someone else's help include:

●     Getting Groceries - Trips to the grocery store can be exhausting, and that doesn't take into account unloading them from your car and getting them into your home and put away. Consider asking someone to pick up some staples for you, or heavier items like milk, juice, pet food, or cleaning products.

●     Deep Cleaning Kitchen and Bathroom - Daily light cleaning might be fine for you, but doing a deep cleaning down on your hands and knees is just too much. Why not ask for help with that occasional deep cleaning?

●     Flipping or Rotating a Mattress and Changing Bedding - Making the bed ought to be quick and easy, but if you don't have the strength or leverage to reach and lift a mattress or the agility to reach into awkward corners, it can turn a simple job into an arduous project.

●     Holiday Decorations - Whatever holiday decorations you might want to display throughout the year, because they are used so infrequently, they are often stored in the least accessible places like attics and hard-to-reach shelves. Thankfully, holidays come on a schedule, so you can plan ahead and ask for help before you need it!

●     Taking Trash to the Curb - Gathering the trash can be the easy part, but getting it out to the curb and even bringing an empty can back up to the house can be a real chore, especially if you have the heavy, roller bins and the driveway is snowy or icy. Your neighbors will be taking their trash to the curb on the same schedule, so be sure to ask if they'll take yours, too.

Remember that asking for help doesn't mean you need help all the time, every time, but it's good to ask when you need it.

Simplify Cooking

You may have cooked elaborate meals for your family for years, but it may be time to get out of that habit. A couple of small changes can save you a lot of time and effort in kitchen cleanup.

●     Microwave - Using the microwave can save you from lots of extra pots and pans needing cleaning after a meal.

●     Non-stick Cookware - As simple as it sounds, using non-stick cookware can make cleanup a breeze, saving you lots of scrubbing.

●     Consider a Delivery Service - You may want to consider a delivery service. Some companies bring frozen foods from fruit mixes and vegetables to meats and entire meals. Community-based meal delivery services are also worth considering, whether you use them daily or just one or two days per week.

What About a Service?

For some household chores, the time comes when it's smarter to hire a service to help you out than to do it yourself.

●     Lawn and Outdoor Care - You may still enjoy planting flowers, or doing other yard and garden tasks, but weekly mowing in the summertime and snow removal in the winter can be too much to handle. Think about hiring a service for either or both, or asking a neighbor to help you out.

●     Pet Care - While getting exercise is very important, uneven sidewalks or areas without safe, smooth spaces to walk can make walking a dog more risky than it's worth for either of you. Getting heavy bags of pet food in, giving a dog a bath, and trips to the vet can be a lot to handle. Consider getting help with those tasks and/or using a mobile pet care service or delivery service.

Larger Household Changes

Sometimes a larger household change can make a big difference in your comfort level at home.

●     Move the Laundry Room - If you don't feel safe making trips to a basement laundry room, especially carrying loads of laundry with you, one option is to move the laundry room upstairs. The initial expense can pay off in your safety, and can make your home more valuable when the time comes to sell it, too. This is a good option if you have extra space near the kitchen or a bathroom, where a stacked washer/dryer set can fit into even a very narrow space.

●     Replace Your Stove - It can be a huge hassle to scrub around the parts of a stovetop, and unsteady hands may make it easy to slosh some food out of a pot or pan. You might consider replacing your current stove with a model that uses a smooth cooktop. Smooth cooktops are easy to clean and provide an even space to move pots and pans around.

Failure to manage daily household tasks or errands can be a sign you or your loved one need some help. From a few hours a week to extended, daily visits, Senior Helpers Companion Care is available to help with those household chores and errands. This is often the easiest way to simplify housekeeping for seniors. Contact us today to see how we can help you or your loved one stay safe and comfortable at home.