Elder Spring Cleaning

Many people take the beginning of spring as a time to clean, organize, and reset. With longer days on the way and warm weather on the rise, people feel a general increase in productivity during the spring.  Unfortunately, there are elderly folks living in senior care facilities are not always equipped to take on this kind of a task. Whether they are limited in mobility or just have too much cleaning and organizing to tackle on their own, your assistance might be necessary to complete spring cleaning. Below are some of the best ways for you and your loved one in a care facility to tackle spring cleaning this year.

Prioritize:  Before you even start your spring cleaning, it is best to begin by making a list of everything your elderly family member or friend would like to accomplish during their spring cleaning process. Once you have made your list, number  those tasks in order of importance. Tackle the biggest, most important projects first, like organizing medications or paperwork. As you complete those large tasks,  complete smaller, simpler projects in between. This will allow you to accomplish more!

Organize:  For the elderly, it’s especially important to keep items maintained and organized. Start by clearing out drawers and cabinets of their contents. Organize items by category. Everyday items should be kept in places where they are easily accessible, so keep that in mind when organizing closets, cabinets, and refrigerators. Also be sure to organize any relevant medical paper work, insurance information, or bills, and stow them away in a safe but easily accessible place. Organizing belongings makes it easier to find what you’re looking for, and will make it that much easier to find what they need when they need it.

Sanitize:  A clean living environment is vital to anyone at any age. If your loved one’s living space is looking lackluster, used sanitizing cleansers to clean flooring, countertops, and bathroom surfaces. This will spruce up the space instantly, and give your loved one a fresh reset to start the spring season in a healthy manner. Throughout the rest of the season, explain the small chores they’ll need to do to maintain the cleanliness, but a deep spring cleaning is a good jumping off point.

Involve:  While your elderly family member will surely appreciate your help, they don’t want to be completely left out of the process. Depending on their physical ability, you can have your loved one help out with certain spring cleaning tasks. Have them organize paper work while you organize a hard-to-reach cabinet, or assign another task that allows them to remain stationary. Helping out even in the slightest will allow them to feel involved and accomplished when the day of cleaning is done.

Facilitate:  Proper health care is a top priority for the elderly. Checking expiration dates of food and pills should also be part of your spring cleaning process. Make sure the senior care facility your loved one is in is a safe home for them to inhabit, clearing the floor of any trip-and-fall hazards. If your family member uses any type of medical devices, ensure they are functioning properly and ready for use. A list of phone numbers should be programmed into their phone or placed next to a phone in case of emergencies.

If you feel like this is a lot to take on yourself, make a day of it with the family. Helping out your loved one living in a senior care facility with their spring cleaning is a great way to spend time with them. Plus, doing so will allow them more time to participate in activities and socialize.

About The Author

Ruth Folger Weiss loves writing for The Waterford On The Bay, a senior living community in Brooklyn, New York.


15 Tips on Providing In-Home Health Care

Providing in-home health care to someone, especially a loved one can be a stressful and challenging experience.  Preparing ahead and considering these fifteen tips can help to make the transition into in home care less stressful and easier on you and the individual requiring care.

  1. Impact on Person Needing Care – the individual needing care will need some time to adjust to the new arrangement.  They may have recently lost a loved one or they may have had an injury or major medical event that has prompted the change.  Any of these changes can cause stress, anxiety or even depression so it’s best to give that person some time to adjust.
  2. Impact on You – As you will be the one giving care, a significant amount of your time will be required.  You will need to consider if this is something you are willing to do and how it will affect your job and family life.
  3. Impact on Your Family – It will be important for you to discuss your decision to provide in home care with your family.  The decision will directly impact them and your way of life.  Carefully consider everyone’s opinions and concerns prior to making a full commitment.
  4. Staying on Top of Appointments – Once you start providing in home care, you will need to stay on top of appointments that will need to be kept such as going to the doctor, physical therapy, etc.
  5. Questions to Ask the Doctor – The more care you provide, the more involved you will be with monitoring the daily activities of the individual.  You will want to ask specific questions of the doctor if you notice any concerning behavior or changes to the health or mental state of the patient.
  6. Medicines – Along with providing in home care, you will need to keep track of any medications, when they need to be administered and any dangerous side effects or interactions with other drugs or specific foods.
  7. Meals – Providing regular and nutritious meals will be a major part of your responsibilities and it will have a major impact on the health of the person requiring care.
  8. Exercise/Physical Therapy – Depending on the mobility of the patient, you may need to ensure that they participate in some type of physical activity to keep them mobile.  This may also involve bringing them to the gym or to physical therapy appointments.
  9. Keeping Minds Active – If the patient is limited in activity or confined in any way, it may be helpful to make sure they keep their mind active in addition to their body.  This can be done by providing them with reading materials, thought-provoking games or puzzles.
  10. Eliminating Dangers in the Home – Keeping pathways clear and removing clutter in the home can help to prevent any accidents or injuries to the patient.
  11. Making Adjustments to the Home – Consider if your home may require adjustments such as ramps, railings, stair lifts or larger access points into and out of the home.  You may also need to make changes to furniture and fixtures such as chairs, beds, or bathtubs.
  12. Additional Cost for Caring – The cost of providing in home care can be significant.  You will want to consider if you need to reduce hours at work or stop working altogether in addition to the cost of additional food, transportation and potential renovations to your home.
  13. Liability Insurance – While most people provide in home care to a loved one, you may want to consider adjusting any liability insurance on your home.  Any additions you make to your home may require additional coverage.
  14. Taking Care of Yourself – One thing that most caregivers neglect while they are providing care is themselves.  Make sure you are eating right, getting enough sleep, and getting a break from time to time as care giving can be a demanding task even if you are helping a family member or loved one.
  15. Know When to Admit You Need Help – At some point, providing in home care may become so overwhelming or even impossible that you may need to consider getting additional help or stopping in home care altogether.  Having an idea of what your options are under these circumstances will help to ease the transition especially if something changes with the patient unexpectedly.

By taking these tips into account, you can avoid any potential problems or conflicts as you transition into providing in home care.

 About The Author

Catherine Reeson is certified medical assistant, and has worked in various caregiver roles for several years. She aims to write about topics that will help beginner caregivers avoid some of the hurdles she’s faced in her tenure.

Helping Senior Loved Ones With Downsizing

A lifetime of memories – and the possessions to prove it – are preserved in the homes of many senior loved ones. The time eventually comes when they must downsize, but most people will need help and support during this difficult and emotionally trying process.

With our many years of experience helping seniors and their families with eligibility for Medicaid sponsored long-term care and nursing home placement, the downsizing dilemma is nothing new to us and we’d like share some tips on what to expect and how to deal with the situation.

How to Know When It’s Time

It’s usually time to consider downsizing for your loved one when the situation falls into one of the following scenarios:

  1. The amount of possessions has become too much for your loved one to manage as their age advances. Large amounts of possessions may be posing a hazard to their health, the quality of their life, or to the upkeep of their home. In some cases, years of hoarding may be taking it’s toll and it’s time to clear out items for both health and mental health reasons.
  2. Your loved one needs to move into a smaller home. This may be a care facility, a senior living complex, or even a smaller home that is better suited to mobility limitations. The amount of items in the family home, accumulated over a lifetime, is too much to move into the new, smaller dwelling.

Start the Conversation

Broaching the subject with your loved one is often the most difficult part of the entire process. Most seniors know they need to downsize, but decluttering seems overwhelming. It’s not just the physical work of downsizing, but also the emotional stress of parting with a lifetime of memories. This can make your loved one defensive, or even angry, when you bring up the subject.

You can ease the conversation by having a plan. Be willing to help and be present throughout the entire process. Come up with a strategy for dealing with hard-to-part-with items. This could be as simple as donating mindfully to those that would appreciate the items most, to creating photo-documentation of the sentimental items that your loved one can keep in an album after the physical items have moved on.

Help With the Downsizing Process

The most important thing you can do during this difficult time is to be there for your loved one every step of the process. Bring in trusted family members and friends to help, when possible, to help set your loved one’s mind at ease. If you must bring in outside help, make sure you are there to help manage and monitor the process, and step in if you see your loved one becoming upset.

Get on Top of Out-of-Control Clutter

The process is made more difficult if the clutter is out-of-control. Begin by helping your loved one create an inventory of their items. This can be on paper, or you can work room-by-room and lay everything out so it’s visible.

As you list items, separate them into categories – keep, donate, undecided. Get donations and trash items out of the house daily so they don’t accumulate and lead to second guessing. On undecided items, you may need to take a hard line approach and insist that some things must leave. If your loved one is emotionally attached, find a compromise – such as passing the item on to another family member or adding it to the photo book.

Although this can be a difficult time, it shall pass. Your loved one will eventually feel better with less things, and it will be easier to tend to their evolving care and home requirements as they continue to age.

About The Author

Benjamin Lamm is a communication specialist and blogger at Senior Planning Services, a Medicaid planning company guiding seniors and their families through the Medicaid process. Ben enjoys playing the guitar, spending time with family and social networking.