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Blog Feature

By: Elizabeth Bemis on May 8th, 2013

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5 Spring Cleaning Safety Tips for Senior Citizens

assisted living | assisted living ct | Safety Tips For Senior Citizens | ct assisted living | Aging & Caregiving

Senior Citizens Spring Cleaning TipsDoes your kitchen look like a display ad for gadgets and counter-top appliances? Does all of the excess furniture lying around your 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 freshen up your home. Spring is the season of renewal, so get caught up in the fever and throw out the junk and re-organize your space! 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 you have old prescription drugs mixed in with the new? These common practices in homes pose potentially dangerous health hazards.  Whereas some medications still retain their potency after expiration dates, many do not and should be disposed of. Old liquid antibiotics, drugs comprised of organic ingredients and those requiring refrigeration should be safely discarded.

Be sure to store medications in a cool, dark, dry place; the bathroom does not fit that category. A better place is an airtight plastic container on a shelf in your closet.

2. Clean Up Clutter

Trips and falls are likely to happen when you accumulate too much “stuff”. Reduce the risk by removing unnecessary and obstructive items (including furniture) from your 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, do you have important numbers on speed dial? Know who to call in an emergency and have your phone programmed, accordingly.

If you reside in an assisted living community, be sure you understand how the emergency response system works.  Just like when you were living in a neighborhood, look out for others and know who to go to for help.

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. Never try to move furniture or heavy objects on your 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 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.

Key Takeaways:

  • Get rid of expired, unused medication. Store medicines in a cool, dry, dark place.
  • Maintain a clear walkway for seniors to navigate.
  • Know who to call in an emergency and have your phone programmed accordingly.
  • Use cordless cleaning tools and lightweight equipment for household chores.
  • Periodically check your smoke detector, fire extinguishers and Emergency Kits.

Learn More:

At assisted living communities there are frequent saftey checks to make sure the residents homes are in a clean and safe condition. If you are interested in learning more about assisted living please contact United Methodist Homes to learn more!

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About Elizabeth Bemis

In 1998, I drove past an assisted living community construction site, learned that it was part of United Methodist Homes and realized the next stop on my professional journey was to work for a mission driven organization. Soon after, I joined the team as Executive Director of our Middlewoods of Farmington community and later served as Regional Manager for the Middlewoods properties before accepting my current role as Vice President of Marketing, Promotions, and Assisted Living Operations. I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, reading, walking, and love working alongside our staff, residents, and families to build strong communities that reflect the mission, vision, and values of United Methodist Homes.

Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.