The COVID-19 pandemic has brought fresh attention to the advantages of remaining at home in old age. Independent living is associated with numerous health benefits for seniors, including reduced social isolation, higher activity levels, and lower rates of depression and Alzheimer’s (Retirement Living, 2020). If you’re elderly, having your own home also allows you to reduce your risk of catching communicable illnesses, like influenza and the novel coronavirus.
Though aging at home is beneficial in many ways, it still presents challenges that require careful planning, creativity, and adaptation to overcome. As a senior living independently, you’ll need to manage safety and accessibility concerns, including the risk of getting injured while cleaning. In this article, we’ll share some helpful tips on how to change the way you clean to fit your level of strength and mobility.
5 House Cleaning Tips for Seniors
Invest in the right tools.
Strains, sprains, and falls are a concern for anyone who cleans frequently, regardless of their age. As you get older, however, your risk of experiencing these injuries increases and recovery becomes more complicated. You might also find that manual scrubbing drains your energy and stresses your joints more than it used to, making cleaning feel like an unpleasant chore. The good news? Today, there are a number of useful tools available that make backache-free cleaning a reality. Some of our favorite essentials include:
-Extendable microfiber dusters. As the name suggests, these dusters come with an extendable handle that makes reaching the tops of cupboards, light fixtures, and other high-up places a breeze.
-Power scrubbers. Power scrubbers are an absolute must for cleaning grout, floors, tubs, sinks, and other areas prone to stubborn stains and bacteria build-up. These scrubbers come with an electric head that does the work for you, so all you have to do is move the tool along the surface you want to clean. Many models also have extendable arms and multiple scrubber heads, making them incredibly versatile in hard-to-reach areas.
-Robot vacuums. Robot vacuum cleaners, like the Roomba, can quietly and unobtrusively vacuum your floors without any manual effort on your part. These devices are equipped with special sensors that help them identify dirty spots and avoid obstacles, for a hassle-free clean.
Choose natural cleaners whenever possible.
Even for non-smokers, the risk of developing respiratory illnesses increases with age. Along with leading a healthy, active lifestyle, avoiding the use of harsh cleaning products can help prevent common lung diseases, including pneumonia and COPD.
According to research conducted by the French Institute of Health and Medical Research, frequent use of chemical disinfectants can increase the risk of developing COPD by 22-32%. These findings highlight the importance of using harsh cleaning products only when the benefits outweigh the risks (i.e., in areas where dangerous bacteria might otherwise accumulate, such as the toilet bowl). Otherwise, it’s better to stick with natural cleaning agents, like vinegar and baking soda, to remove grime.
When you do need to use a chemical disinfectant, choose a bleach-free product and thoroughly ventilate the area while you work. (Keep windows open for a full half-hour before and after you clean.) If you already suffer from respiratory health issues, hire a professional cleaner to clean your bathroom and kitchen for you, and leave the area while they work.
Use shelf liners to make clean-up faster and easier.
Covering your kitchen drawers, cupboard shelves, and fridge with removable liners both protects these surfaces from stains and significantly reduces clean-up time. Look for non-adhesive plastic shelf liners for your cupboards and drawers, as these liners can be removed, cleaned in the washing machine, and reinserted multiple times. In the fridge, use disposable paper liners to line your vegetable and fruit drawers (paper liners soak up excess moisture, keeping fruit and veggies fresh for longer) and line shelves with peel-and-stick plastic liners. Glad “Press n’ Seal” food wrap can be used to make durable, low-cost fridge shelf liners that can be disposed of once they become soiled.
Store your cleaning products in easy-to-reach places.
Many of us store our cleaning products somewhere they’ll be completely out of sight, like a high shelf or the cupboard below the kitchen sink. While doing this reduces visible clutter in the home, reaching for products adds extra bending and stretching to your cleaning routine, thereby increasing the likelihood of muscle and joint strain.
Ideally, you should store your cleaning products at waist level; e.g., on the middle shelf of your pantry. You can also try storing them in a rolling cart, which can be tucked out of sight in a closet when you aren’t cleaning. This way, you’ll be able to wheel your products from room to room with very little effort.
Know when to ask for help.
Though most seniors are fully capable of doing light maintenance cleaning, tackling big jobs alone is often more hassle (and risk) than it’s worth. Before you attempt any cleaning tasks that involve moving heavy furniture or appliances, or reaching very high-up places, call a trusted relative or professional cleaner to assist you. Likewise, if you find routine deep-cleaning tiring, hiring a maid can preserve your energy for more important things.
As the leading domestic cleaners in Louisville, we’ll happily tailor our services to fit your needs, budget, and schedule. Whether you want a bit of extra help around the house or comprehensive housecleaning services, we’re here to help you enjoy your retirement to the fullest while you take a day to relax in Beargrass Creek Park. To learn more about what we do, contact Super Cleaning Service Louisville online or by phone at (502) 230-6735.