5 Spring Cleaning Safety Tips for Senior Caregivers

Does your client’s kitchen look like a display ad for gadgets and counter-top appliances? Does all of the excess furniture lying around their living space look like it should be in a yard sale? If you answered “yes” or even a reluctant “no”, then it’s time to help them freshen up their home. For seniors citizens and their caregivers, these five spring cleaning tips are for safety first.

1. Check the Medicine Cabinet
Are medications labeled and stored in their proper containers? Do they have old prescription drugs mixed in with the new? These common practices in homes pose potentially dangerous health hazards. Old liquid antibiotics, drugs comprised of organic ingredients and those requiring refrigeration should be safely discarded.
2. Clean Up Clutter
Trips and falls are likely to happen when clients accumulate too much “stuff”. Reduce the risk by removing unnecessary and obstructive items (including furniture) from their regular walking path and place them in storage. Make maintaining a clear walkway in every room of the house or apartment a top priority. And either tape carpet edges or throw rugs to the floor or get rid of them entirely.
In the kitchen, remove infrequently used appliances off the counter, organize cabinets, create front row spaces for frequently use items, and clear out the refrigerator and pantry of stale food.
3. Have an Emergency Plan in Place
In case of an emergency such as a fall, an attempted burglary, or a kitchen accident, does your client have important numbers on speed dial? Do they know who to call in an emergency?
4. Never Try to Move Heavy Objects or Furniture on Your Own
For seniors with reduced strength or mobility challenges, doing household chores may seem like a monumental task. Remind them to never try to move furniture or heavy objects on their own. Don’t stand on a chair or ladder to clean hard to reach spots or change light bulbs. Use cordless cleaning tools and lightweight equipment which are easier to use. Try the newer, more efficient technology tools on the market designed to make modern household cleaning a breeze.
5. Monitor Your Smoke Alarm System, Fire Extinguisher and Emergency Kit
Periodically check your client’s smoke alarm system and carbon monoxide detectors; run a test to ensure batteries for detectors are functional.
Every home should have at least two handheld fire extinguishers (one in the kitchen for sure). Check the expiration date and remind yourself to monitor the device every once in a while.
Emergency kits should be assessed often and restocked in the Spring and Winter. General contents may include: a flashlight and spare batteries, thermometer, Band-Aids, scissors, tape, triple antibiotic ointment, wound care dressings, allergy and digestive medications, protein bars, a current medication list and names and phone number of family or friends to contact list in an emergency.