It’s that time of year: Spring Cleaning time! Take a look around. Are there winter blankets to pack away for the season? Are neighborhood signs appearing for yard sales and recycling fundraisers? It’s time to clean house and brighten up the rooms. Declutter Your Older Adult’s Living Space!
Create a safe, pleasant living space
Many older adults spend a majority of their time in a few rooms of the house. For safety and comfort, it’s important to make sure their main living spaces are decluttered, pleasant, and don’t have hidden dangers.
Being in open, welcoming spaces is also a great mood booster. Here are our top five suggestions for creating a comfortable space where your older adult can happily spend time.
- Get your older adult involved
- This is the space they’ll be using so collaborate with them on changes.
- Help them feel excited about getting a room or home makeover.
- Tackle the rooms that your older adult spends most of their time in. Don’t worry about spaces they never use.
- Declutter and remove tripping hazards
- Swap out any sharp-edged furniture for softer, safer items.
- Remove throw rugs or area rugs.
- Tape down or remove any exposed electrical cords.
- Donate or sell excess furniture or move it to other rooms. Keep things simple and minimal.
- Declutter the space! Don’t use the room as a storage area.
- Keep only things that are actively being used and consider storage baskets for organization.
- Brighten the space
- Improve the lighting by getting brighter lights and making sure the curtains get opened.
- Hang up a few large pictures or posters. Anything that triggers happy memories is great. Ideas include:
- Family photos
- Nature scenes
- Images from hobbies like fishing or gardening
- Cityscapes from favorite vacations
- Keep frequently used things in reach
- Make note of the things that your older adult reaches for constantly.
- Figure out how to keep those items within arms reach of their usual seat.
- This could include:
- TV remote control
- Reading glasses
- Books or puzzles
- Glass of water
- Bring nature inside
- Add some plants. Whether they’re fake or real, they bring freshness and life.
- Add natural items from favorite activities, like:
- Smooth rocks from a fishing spot
- Shells collected from the beach
- Flowers from the farmer’s market
- A bowl of lemons
- A bunch of fall leaves
Note: Seniors who have been “collectors” can become more so as they age, leading to hoarding. Memory loss can also contribute to purchasing many of the same items. Also, if your older adult’s living space is dusty or dirty laundry or dishes have accumulated, this might be a good time to consider help for activities of daily living.