Think about the things you do when cleaning. You probably mop floors, dust every surface possible, and clean out the fridge and freezer. You might think of moving furniture to vacuum behind things. You probably wash windows and curtains.
Decluttering is an essential part of cleaning. Getting rid of unwanted items can be hard at any age. That clutter can become a hazard in a senior’s home. In fact, clutter can impact the quality of life and increase the risk of injury in a fire.
The Problems With Clutter
In California, an elderly man was badly injured in a house fire. Clutter around the property made it hard for firefighters to get to the home’s main entry points. Also, there was the problem of the clutter within the home adding fuel to the fire. While the man and woman were in the hospital and made it out of the house, the home itself was deemed a total loss.
Another example comes from Massachusetts. An elderly couple had stacked clutter on top of a lamp cord. The cord heated up and ignited the material on top of it. Exits from the home were blocked by clutter, which made it hard for the couple to escape. They did make it out but not before they were injured and required hospitalization.
Make sure clutter is part of a yearly spring cleaning. You need to go through your parents’ house and remove anything that they don’t use or need. Those items can be donated or recycled. Just make sure that the house is clear of clutter and exit routes are not blocked.
Where Do You Start?
When you’re decluttering a house, don’t try to do it all at once. Start with one room. When that room is done, take a break. You don’t want to overwhelm your parents with too much decluttering at once. If you do one room and your parents are still upbeat, tackle a second room. Make sure you stop if your parents seem distressed by all the items leaving the house. You don’t have to do it all in one day.
Once the house is clean and clutter free, make sure it stays that way. Caregivers can come to your parents’ home once a week or more often, if necessary, They can vacuum, wipe down surfaces, and take care of general cleaning tasks. Caregivers can also work with your parents to make sure clutter does not become a problem again.