In an online Nielsen survey, 31% of global respondents stated that they cleaned their home daily. However, Nielsen Global Business Partner, Sarah Peters, commented that a one-size-fits-all approach to cleaning does not work. In addition to varying preferences and expectations, issues such as financial situation, family members, and age, health, and mobility should be considered.

There is a difference between being messy and actually being unclean, although the two can often meet. Maintaining a clean house can be difficult at the best of times but for elderly people, it can become an increasing burden. Improved understanding and convenience for the elderly, seeking ways to keep their house clean, can range from useful cleaning hacks to longer-term prevention methods, such as understanding that items that are unsafe to pour down a sink shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet, dumped in a storm drain or buried in the yard.

Drain Care

There is a lot of material and waste products that end up being thrown down the sink or flushed down the toilet that can result in blocked pipes, which can lead to a whole host of further problems. Coffee grounds are one such product that should not be flushed away but should be disposed of in the trash. Grease left over from cooking is another one that must not be washed down the sink as it can build up in the pipes, eventually leading to them becoming completely blocked. One further product that shouldn’t go down drains but may be overlooked by an elderly person is any sort of medication.

A great, simple way for elderly people to keep their household drains clear is to once a week, fill the sink with a mix of warm water and vinegar and then release the water. The combination of vinegar and pressure from a full sink will help to flush the pipes.   

Cleaning Hacks

For older people, possibly with reduced mobility and health issues, convenience is a top priority when it comes to household chores. Thinking of a few quick-fix hacks can make life easier. For example, instead of storing cleaning supplies in just one place, keep set of supplies in different locations around the house. In doing this, it makes it easier to clean as you go, whether it’s quickly wiping down a work surface or bleaching the toilet bowl. This in turn reduces the need to regular deep cleans which are laborious and tiring.

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Hoarding

That mess we mentioned earlier can often be in the form of hoarding, with elderly people often having huge collections of things that they have accumulated over the years. While mess itself can bother some house-proud folk, it might be considered cozy by others. Either way, depending on how excessive a problem it is, keeping the chaos organized can be one step to ensure cleanliness in the area can be seen to.

Of course, for some, hoarding is a genuine problem. In which case, letting go and having a spring clean may be in order. In this case, Dr. April Benson suggests a shift in perspective and the importance of elderly people understanding that letting go does not have to signal loss, but can also mean making s pace for something, which can ease anxiety.

Keeping your house clean does not have to be a strain for elderly people. Maintaining good habits can make cleaning easier and quicker and reduce the need for regular intensive spring cleans. Knowing the tricks and understanding how to prevent longer-term issues can help keep a home clean and fresh for longer.

Editor's Note

One benefit to a cleaner less cluttered home for an aging parent or family member is the reduction of fall risk. If you have an aging parent, grandparent, or neighbor in your life, helping them reduce their risk of falling is a great way to help them stay healthy and independent as long as possible. Often falls cause the need for long-term care. The cost of care in a facility or care in one’s home is expensive. Unless you have Long-Term Care Insurance the cost of care will come out of pocket unless you qualify for Medicaid, the medical welfare program. That requires you to have little or no assets. Having a family member care for you is also difficult as they have their own careers and family responsibilities to consider.

The National Council on Aging (www.ncoa.org)  says the good news about falls is that most of them can be prevented. In addition to keeping a home clean and less cluttered you should know where to look. Here are some common factors that can lead to a fall:

  • Balance and gait: As we age, most of us lose some coordination, flexibility, and balance— primarily through inactivity, making it easier to fall.
  • Vision: In the aging eye, less light reaches the retina—making contrasting edges, tripping hazards, and obstacles harder to see.
  • Medications: Some prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can cause dizziness, dehydration or interactions with each other that can lead to a fall.
  • Environment: Most seniors have lived in their homes for a long time and have never thought about simple modifications that might keep it safer as they age.
  • Chronic conditions: More than 80% of older adults have at least one chronic condition like diabetes, stroke, or arthritis. Often, these increase the risk of falling because they result in lost function, inactivity, depression, pain, or multiple medications.

Being proactive with an older family member will help reduce risk. What can you do now, before you are older and retired? One way is to put in place an advance plan for the financial costs and burdens of aging. Long-Term Care Insurance is easy and affordable asset protection which also help reduce the tremendous burdens placed on your family as you grow old and require help with normal living activities.

Experts suggest adding LTC insurance before you retire to take advantage of your good health and low premiums which are based on your age and health at the time of application.

Benefits are determined by you with the help of a Long-Term Care Specialist who will design an appropriate plan based on your specific situation.

Cost of care can vary depending on location. In addition, some states have tax incentives and the federal government also offers tax incentives. Learn more about costs and incentives here: https://www.ltcnews.com/resources/state-information