5 Cleaning Tips to Keep Seniors Healthy
Just because an aging family member seems healthy, happy, and thriving doesn’t mean they don’t need a little assistance every once in a while. In fact, keeping a home clean can be one of the challenges your senior loved one is facing, but they haven’t mentioned it for fear of disappointing you or appearing incapable.
Over 29% of the U.S. population provides care to a chronically ill, disabled, or aging family member, spending up to 20 hours per week offering care support. While your elderly loved one may not have a chronic condition or physically debilitating ailment, they may need your help tidying up around the house.
How A Clean Home Benefits Seniors
In 2010, Indiana University Kinesiology professor and distinguished researcher NiCole Keith conducted a study that found a correlation between physical fitness and having a clean home. Dr. Keith stated, “At the end of the day, the interior condition of their house seemed to be the only thing affecting their physical activity.”
Nevertheless, your aging loved one may not be ready for the next bodybuilding competition; keeping their home clean and disinfected does come with various health benefits, including:
- Decreased respiratory issues
- Improved indoor air quality (IAQ)
- Reduced transmission of bacterial and viral infections
- Reduced injury and hospitalization
- Lowered fatigue and stress
A clean home has several advantages, but that doesn’t mean an elderly family member has the mobility or physical capability to complete the job. That’s where you and the rest of the family’s help will be greatly needed.
1. Make Cleaning Frequent & Normal
Keeping germs at bay for a senior loved one can be the difference between aging in place comfortably and being forced (for safety reasons) to live in a long-term care facility. It can be challenging to make cleaning a routine but necessary for great quality of life.
Cleaning doesn’t have to be boring or stressful. We recommend cleaning frequently and normalizing it by making it fun! Vibing to your favorite music or turning it into a game can be just the thing to make it a habit that keeps your senior loved one healthy.
2. Recruit Other Family Members to Help
While 74% of U.S. adults have no problem asking for help, your aging loved one may be the exception. Even with all the creative ideas in the world, cleaning can still be tedious and shouldn’t be done alone when other family members are available to help. Recruit the whole brood to support grandma or grandpa and get their house spick and span. And, hey, who knows, they might thank you with your favorite homecooked meal.
3. Create a Home Cleaning Schedule Everyone Can Stick To
A misconception about home cleaning is that it must be done in one day. But who really has time to block out an entire day for cleaning? A home cleaning schedule for a senior family member might look like this:
- Monday morning: Clean the bathroom and kitchen
- Tuesday evening: Vacuum the living room
- Wednesday morning: Wash the windows
- Thursday afternoon: Collect and wash all the laundry
- Friday morning: Sort and organize mail
Cleaning shouldn’t have any limitations or restrictions. Breaking up deep cleaning will make it less overwhelming, more manageable, and easy to turn into a routine.
4. Use Natural Cleaners Instead of Harsh Chemicals
Store-bought cleaners have their use in the home, don’t get us wrong. However, heavy reliance on chemical cleaners can be a detriment to your appliances and (potentially) your aging loved one’s health. We’re proponents of natural and holistic cleaning products that you can find in your own home right now. For instance, to clean:
- Bathrooms: Create a bathroom disinfectant paste by mixing one part water and one part baking soda. This combination is great on countertops and tiles.
- Kitchens: A natural multi-purpose kitchen cleaner that we love uses a combination of 1 cup of white vinegar, 1 cup of water, and 10-15 drops of essential oil. We recommend using lemon, tea tree, or lavender oil to eliminate odors.
5. Tackle Highly Touched Surfaces First
You may have heard that tackling the easiest tasks first and then working your way to the more challenging duties is preferable. But we think the better choice is to start with the most touched surfaces, as they can hold germs and bacteria that can contribute to your aging family member’s declining health.
Grab a mop, broom, and microfiber cloth to clean:
- Toilets (and handles)
- Cabinet pulls
- Hard flooring
- TV remotes
- Light switches
Deeply cleaning these items will ensure you kill most bacteria and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) living on high-touch surfaces.
Merry Maids® Offers Compassionate Senior House Cleaning Services
House cleaning tips for seniors are useless if you don’t have the time or energy to implement them and turn them into habits. We know life can be hectic, and you can’t always be there to assist a senior, so let us take over.
When you need help cleaning for an elderly loved one, our cleaning professionals are happy and willing to assist you. We offer senior house cleaning services that give your aging family member’s home a floor-to-ceiling clean, providing a comfortable and disinfected space where they can age in place safely.
Find your closest Merry Maids® location and request your free cleaning estimate today!