As you can imagine, I get a lot of calls from adult children who are worried about their parents. With a long life expenctancy, kids are doing what they can to keep their parents independent and in their homes as long as possible. This means making some serious changes.
When you live in a decent sized home for years, things tend to stack up. As you get older, you don’t have the energy to deal with it. Even a small pile can be a safety hazard to a senior. With advancing age comes things like lessened eyesight, balance, and memory issues.
Here are some simple steps to make sure your parents home is safe:
1. Make sure all paths to doorways are clear.
2. If possible go through the mail and clear out excess paper each week.
3. Check out the refrigerator to look for spoiled and expired food.
4. Gently start downsizing the items in the home. I said gently. Don’t push your parent and make them feel bad. Take it one small step at a time. Be patient and kind to them. Start in one room and work your way around the home. If you are planning to move your parents, start purging a year before the move.
5. If there are serious memory or anger issues that can come with Dementia, consider removing things like tools or sharp objects from the home.
The most important thing is to make sure that they have clear space and pathways.
I just started working on a project in which the kids were concerned with the home. There were piles on the floor around the bed. Also two of the rooms had a lot of clutter and were not safe for someone who is frail in nature.
Take one pile or area at a time. Explain to your parent, relative, or family friend what needs to be done with the item. Have a staging area for those items that need more thought. At the end of each session, take the items to the trash or load in the car for donations.
Be kind and respectful! This is a hard process!!