We’re coming up on the time of year when spring-cleaning is top-of-mind. Out with the old, and in with the new is the motto of most homeowners. While we most often equate springtime with a time to clean out the closets, we should also consider spring as a time to check for safety hazards around the home. If you are the caregiver of a senior loved one, it’s a good idea to work with your loved one to make sure that their living space is a safe place.
Here are some spring-cleaning and safety reminders for your senior loved one’s home.
Smoke detector batteries should be changed annually, but now is a good time to check each smoke detector in the home to make sure that they are running properly. Ensure that there is a detector in each bedroom and in the common spaces on each floor of the house. If there is a beeping coming from any of the smoke detectors, make sure to change the battery immediately.
Also, check the fire extinguishers in the home to ensure that they are not expired. Make sure that there is an extinguisher stored on each floor, and that they are easily accessible. This is especially important in the kitchen, where the likelihood of a small fire is higher.
Take time to go through the medicine cabinet with your loved one and discard any medication that is expired or unwanted. You can take these prescriptions to a designated prescription drop-off box for safe disposal. Make sure that unwanted medications do not end up in someone else’s hands.
As an added precaution, ensure that medications are stored properly. Some will need to be stored in refrigeration, so it’s important to check the labels to make sure that medications are stored where they need to be in order to make sure that they will work as prescribed.
Have a plan with your loved one in case of an emergency such as a hurricane, flood, or other natural disaster. Go over the plan and make sure that your loved one knows where they need to go in case of an emergency. Make sure that all relevant contact information and medical information related to your loved one is easily accessible to them and anyone who may need it. Revise the plan regularly to make sure that it is up-to-date.
Check the security system at your loved one’s home to make sure it is running properly. If they do not have a home security system, now is a good time to shop around for the best option. Pick an alarm code that is easy for them to remember, but that isn’t easy for someone else to figure out—such as a birthday. Check all the windows and doors to make sure that locks are working properly.
Clear Out Clutter
Take some time to clear out any clutter around the house that may have accumulated over the past year. Clutter can collect dust and cause health issues, or it may become a hazard on the floor for your loved one as they move around the house. Consider donating some items to Goodwill or other charities, or simply throw away any items that are no longer of use to anyone.
Spring-cleaning and safety checks go hand-in-hand. If you are a caregiver of a senior, it’s a good idea to help him or her make their home safe and clean on a regular basis, but now is a good time to check-in on some of these items.
Bemis, E. (n.d.). 5 Spring Cleaning Safety Tips for Senior Citizens. Retrieved February 14, 2018, from https://www.umh.org/assisted-independent-living-blog/bid/289629/5-Spring-Cleaning-Safety-Tips-for-Senior-Citizens