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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


Spring has sprung, which means it is the perfect time to dust off the drapes and clean the counters! Spring cleaning offers many people the chance to do a deep clean of their household and start the new season off right. For senior citizens, however, spring cleaning may come with an extra set of safety concerns.


Before you or your loved ones jump into this year’s spring cleaning, remember to keep these important safety tips in mind first.


1. Clear the Clutter


Clearing out clutter is an essential part of any spring cleaning, but it is even more crucial for seniors. Piles of needless clutter, especially if they are on the floor, can all too easily result in a dangerous fall if someone trips over them.


Falls are among the most common safety concerns for older adults. Slips, falls, and spills can have serious consequences. The CDC notes that falls are the top cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for senior citizens. It’s estimated that one in four adults over 65 fall each year, with one in five falls resulting in serious injuries such as broken bones and head injuries.


2. Double Check the Detectors


Spring is the quintessential time to check that your smoke detector is functioning properly, with many people aligning this task with changing the clocks in spring and fall. After falls, fires are a major safety concern for senior citizens, so it is important to ensure you and your loved ones have a smoke detector that will keep you safe and alert you to any danger.


After you’ve checked the smoke detector, which is often as simple as pressing a button and listening for the “beep,” make sure you do the same for the carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a toxic gas that has no color, smell, or taste. Inhaling it can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, which is a serious condition that be fatal. With no way of otherwise detecting the gas, it is vital to have a working detector.


When you check the smoke and CO detectors, check the expiration date on your fire extinguishers. Every home should have at least two (especially one in the kitchen).


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3. Restock Your First Aid Kit


Spring cleaning may be a time of getting rid of things you no longer need, but it is also a good time to make sure you’re stocked up on the things that you do.


First Aid kits offer one of your first lines of defense for safety-related concerns, so the kits should be assessed often and restocked frequently. Winter and spring are key times to check your supplies, as you can time it with the New Year and your annual spring cleaning routine.


General contents you may want to include are: 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 the names and phone number of family or friends to contact in case of an emergency.


The American Red Cross has an abundance of information for those looking for what other items to include in a proper first aid kit to keep you and the seniors in your life safe.


4. Don’t Forget the Medicine Cabinet


An often forgotten aspect of spring cleaning, cleaning out your medicine cabinet is an essential safety tip. Many senior citizens have an assortment of medication they may need to take and these can easily get cluttered and chaotic during the year.


When cleaning out and organizing your medicine cabinet, here's a checklist of things to consider:

  • Are all medications labeled and stored in their proper containers? This will help reduce clutter as well as ensure that you and your aging loved ones are taking the right medications and the correct doses.
  • Are any medications expired? While some medications still retain their potency after expiration dates, many do not and should be safely disposed of. Old liquid antibiotics, drugs comprised of organic ingredients and those requiring refrigeration should be discarded.
  • Do you have old prescription drugs mixed in with the new? After making sure that any expired drugs are safely disposed of, organize the remaining medicines so you know which are the newest.
  • Are your medications properly stored in a cool, dark, dry place? A bathroom doesn't fit that category. An airtight plastic container on a shelf in your closet is a much better spot.


Common medical storage practices in homes pose potentially dangerous health hazards. By taking the extra time to sort and store medications correctly during your spring cleaning, you are keeping your and your aging loved ones safe and healthy.


5. Have a Safety Plan in Place


If case of an emergency such as a fire, accident, or injury, do you have a plan in place? Check that you have important numbers on speed dial, like 9-1-1 and the numbers of your emergency contacts.


If you or your loved one live in an assisted living facility, familiarize yourself with their emergency response system works. They may also have safety plans in place already; be sure to familiarize yourself with those too.


Part of your safety plan might include preventative measures, such as letting someone else tackle any heavy lifting. Never try to move heavy objects or furniture on your own and always follow proper lifting techniques. Never stand on a chair to clean hard to reach spot or change lightbulbs.


For seniors with mobility challenges or reduced strength, the household tasks involved in spring cleaning may seem monumental. To make things easier and safer, plan to use cordless cleaning tools and lightweight equipment. Newer, more efficient tools on the market are designed to make modern household cleaning a breeze.


Key Takeaways:

  • Clean up any areas of clutter to help prevent dangerous falls, which can cause serious injuries for seniors.
  • Test the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they're working properly and replenish your first aid kit and fire extinguishers.
  • Safely disposed of expired medication and check that the remaining medication is stored properly.
  • Spring cleaning should include a safety plan. Have emergency contacts on speed dial, never lift heavy objects on your own, and try cordless and lightweight cleaning equipment.

Learn More:

At assisted living communities there are frequent safety 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 Marissa Salvesen

My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!

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.