Spring Cleaning for Safety

March 21, 2015 at 9:31 am Leave a comment

How many of you get the Spring cleaning ‘bug’?  I am already feeling the urge to clean and purge my house, but am reminded that for all of the tasks I plan to do, it may not be as easy for an older adult and/or a person with a disability to complete.  This was made very clear to me and my siblings as we continue to clean and purge my parents home to help with downsizing.  

Many of us have friends and family members that may be in a similar situation.  They have the same urge to Spring clean, but it may be difficult to execute the tasks; Consider how you can lend a hand to help keep them safe in their home environment

Here is a short list of some Spring cleaning considerations to maximize a person’s safety in the home: 

  • Remove clutter:  removal of clutter and potential obstacles to ensure an unobstructed, full pathway to navigate safely throughout the home.
  • Disposal of hazardous household waste:  removal of toxic, ignitable and reactive ingredients from your home   decreases the risk of fire, contamination of septic tanks or wastewater treatment systems and hazards to children and pets when left around the house.  If you live in Delaware, click here for the 2015 Household Hazardous Waste Event Collection Schedule.  For those of you outside of Delaware, check your state solid waste authority website for an updated household hazardous waste event collection schedule.
  • Floor coverings:  Ensure that any floor coverings (e.g. rugs, mats, carpet) are secured to the floor and do not have wrinkles and ripples that can increase the risk for falls.  A non-slip backing on rugs and mats may help to secure them. However, if the corners pull up or they move around, consider removing them altogether to decrease the falls risk.
  • Handrails:  Check any handrails and/or grab bars that are located within and outside of the house to ensure that they are fastened appropriately.  With use, handrails can quickly become loose and wobbly or even partially pulled out of the wall, decreasing functionality and safety with use.
  • Smoke alarms:  Changing the time for daylight savings should be a reminder also to change the batteries in your smoke alarms.  Working smoke alarms are integral to helping save lives in the event of a fire.
  • Fire extinguishers:  Although we may have that fire extinguisher in/near our kitchen, how long has it been there?  Has it expired?  If you have a fire extinguisher, check the date to ensure that it has not expired.  If you do not have a fire extinguisher, get one and keep it in/near your kitchen.
  • Clean out the refrigerator:  throw out any food or condiments that may be expired to decrease risk of food-born illnesses.  This goes for the freezer too–check for items that have been frozen for over a year and/or have freezer burn and throw them out.
  • Mind the medications: Go through any medications you may have collected over the year and dispose of those that are expired.  Create and/or update your medication list.  This helps to organize current medications and decreases the risk of incorrectly taking them as many medications and their bottles look similar.   **Please note:  there is a specific process for disposal of prescription medications.  Click this link for information on safe disposal of unused medication. 
  • Let there be light!  Replace any burned out light bulbs to ensure a lit pathway throughout the home as well as when entering and exiting the home.  Consider exterior lighting with motion sensors to provide light automatically when you approach your door.  Further consideration of dusk-to-dawn lighting for consistent light source at night.  Lastly, consider purchasing bulbs that are long-lasting to decrease overall maintenance.
Happy Spring!!!!

Entry filed under: Home Safety. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

I am running for AOTA office! Multigenerational Planning–How are your communities planning for a diverse and aging population?

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