Elderly Care Tips: Cleaning Up Without Stressing Out
February 2, 2016
Elder Care Los Gatos CAIt is something that you might have been dreading since the beginning of your elderly care journey with your parents, even if you knew from that first day that it needed to be done. It may be so daunting that you do not even like to think about it, much less plan how you are going to handle it, or actually get started tackling it. It can be one of the most beneficial and rewarding things that you can do in your care efforts, and something that will improve the quality of life for your parents and for you. What could this possibly be? The answer is cleaning out your parents' home. One thing that many aging adults have in common is the overabundance of stuff in their homes. Whether it is piles of paperwork, documents, and magazines, boxes of items shoved into every corner of the attic, garage, and basement, or just a few too many pieces of furniture and collectibles, having too much "stuff" in their home can put your parents at serious risk of a variety of issues, including falls, worsened asthma and respiratory problems caused by dust, dirt, and allergens, and emotional and mental health consequences related to feeling overwhelmed by the clutter. Even if their home does not look cluttered, it is likely that there are plenty of items in their home or storage areas that do not need to be there and that you should work on clearing out now so that later needs such as moving into a new home or into your home, or their end of life transition is not as difficult. Working on cleaning out your parents' home might seem like an impossible undertaking, or something that will be unduly emotionally challenging, but there are ways that you can clean up without stressing out.Try these tips to help you feel more in control when you finally decide to take the step and start clearing out your parents' home:
- Just get started. You might feel better if you set a day that you are going to get started and spend some time drawing up plans and organizational designs, but the truth is, the easiest way to make progress in your cleaning efforts without stressing yourself out is simply to get started. Do something today that will make a difference, whether it is cleaning out one box or finding a new home for that piece of furniture that has been in the garage for thirty years. The time is going to pass no matter what, and it makes more sense for you to have accomplished something at the end of that time than to wait to accomplish something until then.
- Spread it out. Do not take a day off from work, put on your worst pair of overalls, and expect that you are going to be able to clean out the entire home by the evening. Not only will this be exhausting, but it is likely that you will just end the day frustrated and discouraged. You may even stop paying attention and make some bad decisions. Instead, spread out your efforts. Go through boxes with your parents while watching TV. Get rid of two or three big items during the weekend. Dedicate two afternoons a week while your parents are with their elderly health care services provider on an outing. Spreading it out will make the process less overwhelming and keep you motivated.
- Focus on the good.It can be extremely stressful to let go of belongings, so help your loved ones focus on the good aspects of your efforts. Remind them that the home will be safer, cleaner, and more comfortable, or that they are doing good for others by donating items. Focusing on this good will help them to release their negative emotions and feel more confident about the process.