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As we age, certain daily tasks that once seemed effortless can become more challenging. One such task that often becomes a source of concern is cleaning. When elderly stop cleaning their homes, you may  find themselves struggling to maintain the same level of cleanliness they once did, and understanding the reasons behind this shift can pave the way for creating a more supportive environment.

This could be a great cause of concern as it is one of the symptoms of self-neglect by vulnerable adults. In this article, we explore why some elderly individuals may stop cleaning and offer practical tips to make this essential chore more manageable.

What To Do When Elderly Stop Cleaning Their Homes

Tailoring assistance to address specific challenges related to physical limitations, cognitive decline, health conditions, loss of motivation, and financial constraints, we can empower seniors to maintain a clean and safe living environment. These practical tips aim to enhance their quality of life and promote independence in daily tasks.

Physical Limitations:

As we age, our bodies undergo changes that can affect mobility and strength. Simple tasks such as bending, lifting, or reaching high shelves may become physically demanding for seniors, making cleaning a more challenging activity.

To overcome physical limitations here are some suggestions that you can do for them:

  • Install grab bars in bathrooms and hallways to provide support and stability.
  • Utilize long-handled cleaning tools to reduce the need for bending or reaching.
  • Simplify living spaces by decluttering and organizing belongings to minimize the effort required for cleaning.
  • Rearrange furniture for easy access, ensuring walkways are clear and unobstructed.
  • Consider providing seniors with ergonomic and lightweight cleaning tools to reduce strain.
  • Explore mobility aids such as walkers or rollators to enhance stability during cleaning activities. Considering Mobility Devices For Seniors? Here’ How To Talk To Them About It

Cognitive Decline:

Some elderly individuals may experience cognitive decline, impacting their ability to plan, organize, and remember tasks. Cleaning requires attention to detail and memory, and these cognitive challenges can contribute to a decline in a senior’s cleaning routine.

  • Use visual cues, such as charts or labels, to help seniors remember the cleaning routine.
  • Break down tasks into simple steps and use checklists to provide a tangible sense of accomplishment.
  • Set a regular cleaning schedule to establish familiarity and routine.
  • Encourage family members or caregivers to provide gentle reminders and assistance when needed.

Health Conditions:

Chronic illnesses or health conditions, such as arthritis or respiratory issues, can make cleaning physically uncomfortable or even unsafe. Seniors dealing with such conditions may be more prone to avoiding cleaning tasks to prevent exacerbating their health issues.

  • Provide ergonomic and padded cleaning tools that are gentle on joints and muscles.
  • Consider lightweight vacuum cleaners or robotic vacuums to reduce physical strain.
  • Break down cleaning into smaller, manageable tasks to prevent overexertion.
  • Prioritize tasks based on comfort levels, addressing essential areas first.

Loss of Motivation:

The loss of a spouse, friends, or a decline in social interactions can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression. In such cases, seniors may lose motivation to engage in routine activities, including cleaning, as they may no longer see the immediate benefits of maintaining a tidy living space.

  • Engage in cleaning activities as a family or with friends to make it a social event.
  • Foster a supportive environment by acknowledging and praising the efforts of the senior.
  • Establish achievable cleaning goals to provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
  • Celebrate small successes to boost motivation and maintain a positive outlook.

Financial Constraints:

Limited financial resources can also contribute to seniors neglecting their cleaning responsibilities. Hiring help or purchasing cleaning supplies may become more challenging, leading to a lack of essential resources for maintaining a clean living environment.

  • Investigate local community services that offer assistance with cleaning for seniors.
  • Connect with non-profit organizations or volunteer groups that provide support.
  • Opt for cost-effective cleaning supplies and explore DIY cleaning solutions using common household items.
  • Research local programs that offer discounted or subsidized cleaning services for seniors.

Most common rooms that you need to help them in deep cleaning

Few people love cleaning. If your mom is dealing with mobility issues or doesn’t have the patience to deep clean, you may need to help her. These are four areas where most people don’t take enough time to properly clean. 

Bathrooms usually get the toilet scrubbed. Sinks and fixtures may get wiped down. Is your mom cleaning the floor behind the toilet or down the outside of the toilet bowl? Those are areas many people overlook. 
Cleaning the inside of the toilet tank and putting some vinegar and hot water down drains to freshen them. Finally, toothbrushes should be rinsed with hydrogen peroxide and stored in a cabinet. 
Sheets should be changed weekly. At that time, sprinkle baking soda on the mattress and vacuum it out to remove dust mites and skin flakes. Open the windows and blinds to let fresh air in and the sun will help kill some bacteria and dust mites. 
Vacuum carpets or sweep and mop hard floor surfaces. Wipe away any dust webs. Dust dressers and other hard surfaces. Finally, put away any clothing that’s laying around. 
Dining Room 
The dining room may not get as much attention as it should. The floor needs to be cleaned of any food scraps that will draw ants and mice. The table should be cleaned to kill any germs. Ceiling fan blades should be dusted and sterilized to kill any bacteria that are forming in the dust and grime. 
What areas of the kitchen is your mom forgetting to clean? She may do her dishes and put them away, but when was the last time she wiped down her cabinets, cleaned out her refrigerator, or rinsed out her drains? It all helps kill bacteria and keep odors from forming. 
Each month, your mom should put some hot water and white vinegar down her drains to kill any bacteria forming in the drain pipe. She wants to use bleach and water to wipe down and sterilize refrigerator shelves and drawers. Spills in cupboards need to be cleaned up to keep pantry pests away. 
You may need to get your mom’s home deep cleaned and organized. Once that’s done, hire elder care aides to keep it that way. If your mom is having a hard time keeping up with cleaning and organization, an elder care agency can have caregivers stop by weekly to clean up and make sure you’re mom is doing okay. 

What to do When Elderly Stop Cleaning Their Homes featured imageIf you or an aging loved-one is considering Elder Care in Ardmore, PA please contact the caring staff at Correct Choice Home Care today at (267) 323-1700. 






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Joshua Walker, MBA