I’ve had many elderly clients over the years, some with mobility issues (including balance and dizziness issues). For many of them, it is difficult to come to the realization that there are certain things they can’t (or shouldn’t) do around the house. Unfortunately, house cleaning is rife with risky tasks like bending over that can result in trips and falls, which is the leading cause of injury and injury death in adults over 65 years of age. And the statistics are scary:
- About 36 million older adults fall each year—resulting in more than 32,000 deaths
- Each year, about 3 million older adults are treated in emergency rooms for a fall injury
- One out of every five falls causes an injury, such as broken bones or a head injury
- Each year at least 300,000 older people are hospitalized for hip fractures
- More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling—usually by falling sideways
- Women fall more often than men and account for three-quarters of all hip fractures
If you or your loved one are having trouble doing basic housekeeping, follow these tips to make it easier and safer to do so.
Use a chair or Rollator whenever possible
Standing for long periods of time is sometimes difficult for the elderly. Tasks like doing the dishes can cause undue strain on the back, knees and legs. Pull up a chair or Rollator and sit down to do the dishes and other chores. This also goes for cleaning bathrooms, kitchens and dusting. A Rollator will give you greater freedom to move around your home and it had locking breaks so prevent slips.
Use a broom to clean the shower or bathtub
Bending over a tub to clean it is the last thing a senior with mobility issues should do. A broom with a long handle is a handy way to clean your shower or tub. Just spray your cleaner on the surface and use the bristle head of the broom to scrub. You can also use a cordless electric spin scrubber for those showers that need extra scrubbing. Remember to grab your chair or sit on the toilet while cleaning!
Another tip is to get a cleaner that requires no scrubbing. Shower Clean is a great product for this. Also, to reduce bending over even more, be sure to attach a hand-held shower head with a long hose so you can detach it and spray the walls and bottom of your tub or shower.
Use a reacher / grabber to pick up clutter
It’s extremely important to pick up clutter on the floors and keep walkways free from obstacles to avoid trips and fall. A grabber can act like an extension of your hand to pick up items and keep you from having to bend down and lose balance, which is a major reason for falls in the elderly. Be sure to have a basket with you to put the clutter in so you don’t have to go back and forth throughout your rooms too much. Empty the basket at your convenience at least once a day.
Use a cordless, lightweight vacuum for floors
Cords can be a major trip hazard so try to use a cordless rechargeable vacuum for your floors. Try to get a lightweight one as this will make it easier to maneuver. There are many good ones on the market these days. I recommend Shark’s IX141 Impact Cordless Stick Vacuum. It’s only 7.5 pounds and it converts to a hand-held vacuum so you can get places above the floor. It works on carpet, as well as hardwood floors.
Use a rolling utility cart for laundry
Use a rolling utility cart as a laundry basket. Keep your dirty clothes in it and easily transport them to the washing machine when the cart is full. When your clothes are dry, empty them into the cart to transport to the bed for easy folding. No more bending down and picking up heavy laundry baskets! These carts are great as a clutter basket and for general use when you need to move items from one room to the other.
Remember, slow and steady wins the race
Many seniors have trouble coming to terms with aging, and the effects it has on the body. Your body is not as agile as it used to be and your reflexes not as quick. Some seniors tend to ignore these limitations and try to do tasks as rapidly as they did when they were younger. This often results in injuries which can be deadly. Remember to slow down and respect your body’s limitations. By doing this, you can avoid detrimental injuries and enjoy your golden years.
Read my article on handy gadgets that can help you clean here. Also, combine these tips with my Bare Minimum Cleaning Schedule to keep your house clean with minimal effort.
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