How to Organize Homes for Elderly Family Members
Homes are archives. Years of life unraveling in their walls are often evidenced by knickknacks and paddiewacks, papers from ten or thirty years ago, and left over kids’ toys that were never given away when the kids were no longer kids. For homes with elderly persons, organizing and sorting through these bits and pieces of days gone are part and parcel of safety-proofing. As discussed in our article Protecting Parents and the Elderly from Falls, falls are more likely to happen in a home that is cluttered.
Getting Started at Organizing
Deciding to let go of some of the items in one’s home is the first step for organizing. Clothes that are gentle used can be donated or sold to a thrift store, a charity or if they’re rare finds , a vintage boutique. Hiring help to sort through (if masses of clothes are present) is a good idea, especially if consolidating the process is important (as in, you don’t have much time to dedicate to this).
Unwanted toys and furniture can be treated in a similar manner, if not sold in a yard sale. Exploring tax write offs is a great idea as well: donations to charities often count as such.
Visit Your Local Container Store (or refurbish old containers)
After sorting through your home, decisions must be made as to how to organize it. Is your kitchen fine as is, or will mason jars for cookies, tea, coffee and the like make it feel better and handle your needs best? Your bedroom closet now has twice the space available but are you in need of shoes boxes to organize the closet floor or garment rack to lower the level of your clothes? It is important to remember your needs and limitation when deciding how to organize.
Safety-Proofing Your Home
The intersection of organization and safety proofing lies primarily in establishing one’s needs and supporting them with your organizational choices. Making things easier to reach is one need that can then be supported by storing things on the floor of your closet as opposed to the overhead shelf. Simple choices like these can be the difference between a calm mellow afternoon, and a trip the ER.
Other things to remember include
1. Secure carpets and rugs to the floors
2. Install bars and nonslip grip in the bathtub
3. Keep it bright: additional lighting can help prevent falls
4. Attach cords to the sides of walls and out of pathways
Links to services that our caregivers supplement senior home care with: