Many of us find that as we grow older, the roles change with our parents. Suddenly we become the caretakers (like a parent) and they need us more and more everyday. And if you are the caretaker, your well aware that it is quite a task. You will find old books/magazines, musty linens and clothes all while navigating through their clutter. And that’s just a start. You can only imagine what you will find in the refrigerator. The reason why it is so important to go through everything for them and de-clutter their home is because living in a chaotic environment provides major risks for aging adults. So when you are ready to tackle cleaning their home, here is a checklist of a few things you wont want to forget:
~ throw away any and all expired food in the freezer/refrigerator.
~ clear objects off of all stairways and walkways.
~ dispose of any outdated medications and expired cleaners/beauty products.
~ make sure all handrails are securely anchored to the walls, that all carpets are secured to the ground, and all the rugs lay flat on the floor.
~ wash or replace soiled bedding, mattress pads, and pillow covers.
~ clean any mold/mildew in bathroom.
~ Look for water damage and mold throughout the house.
~ wash or replace musty curtains, blinds and draperies.
~ check for dusty/moldy walls, ceilings and corners of rooms especially because they can cause respiratory problems along with dusty ventilation and ceiling fans.
Keep in mind that when you are doing this for your loved one, it is very important to include them in the process. As overwhelming as it is for you, its the same way for your loved one. The key to it all is to not put it off! Just about everyone who has been through this ordeal have all said the same thing, wished they would have started sooner!
The battle of donating/selling/tossing items versus keeping them will be tough. For your loved ones, it is more about the memories then the physical items. A good tip for this situation is to take a picture of them. It may be easier for them to donate once they realize the memory has been captured. You could even create a fun photo album for them with some old and new photos for memory’s sake. And for the pile of knick knacks that your loved ones swear will be worth millions in 20 years, try some elegant boxing/packing. Get sturdy boxes, carefully label the contents and relocate the prized items to a basement or storage unit. Nine times out of ten, they will never ask about or to see those items again, but they will feel reassured they are in a safe place. And as the saying goes, when mamma’s happy, everyone is happy!