The Dangers of Home Chores for the Elderly

Definition

Studies have shown that home injuries are one of the biggest causes of adult hospitalization, especially for the elderly. Many of the staggering injury rate numbers are attributed to household chores, such as cooking and cleaning. Furthermore, some seniors are at an increased risk of injuries due to frail health or a variety of medical conditions. A fall could prove to be detrimental to a senior’s livelihood, which is why extra care should always be taken when completing chores.

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Introduction

Many seniors have hopes of growing old while maintaining their independence in their homes; however, completing chores may become difficult for some seniors as they age. Seniors may find that they are not able to clean as well as they once could. Chronic aches and pains may cause them to move slowly, and some chores can become extremely dangerous, especially for those with arthritis or other mobility issues.

Standing on ladders to dust, or bending to reach under or around furniture, becomes a dangerous and sometimes impossible feat to complete. Fortunately, modifications can be made around the home to minimize dangers to seniors while completing chores.

Risks that Seniors Face in Their Home While Cleaning

1. Accidents in the Kitchen

From cuts and burns to slips and falls, the kitchen is the primary area of accidents in the home. Seniors should always be cautious when handling the stove. Simple tasks that are often taken for granted, such as lifting a heavy pan to the stove, may prove to be a daunting task that may cause frustration and pain for a senior. One of the simplest and least expensive measures to reduce the risk of falling in the kitchen is to use a non-slip mat. Not only will the nonslip mat prevent injury, it will also make standing for long period of times more comfortable.

2. Allergic Reactions

Although vacuum cleaners are getting lighter and more compact, many still require quite a bit of physical work to move from room to room. Since vacuuming can be an unpleasant task, seniors may choose to go longer and longer between vacuumings. Dirty carpets may lead to an environment that can irritate the sinuses. This may lead to symptoms such as sneezing, a runny nose and itching eyes. Seniors who may not be able to vacuum or sweep may want to consider a robotic vacuum. The convenience of having the home cleaned automatically relieves the senior of this chore and gives them time to rest and relax.

3. Accidents Due to Clutter

Many seniors fill their homes with a lifetime worth of memories. In many instances, some of these items are added clutter and have no real use in the senior’s life. Removing the clutter can preserve a loved one’s health in many ways. A cluttered home could easily serve as an accident waiting to happen. By removing the excess clutter and organizing the home, seniors will not have to struggle to reach for an item and risk tripping or falling, which could lead to broken bones or other injuries. Decluttering and organizing a senior’s home may make it easier for seniors to move about their homes.

To minimize falls and injuries in the home, essential items should be stored between waist and shoulder height levels to ensure they can be easily reached. Forgotten items that aren’t used may be festering with allergens such as dust mites. By removing the clutter, seniors will have better air quality in their home. The items that are not being removed should be thoroughly cleaned. Hiring a professional cleaning service—even as a one-time thing—can prove to be remarkably helpful. Even if asthma or severe allergies are not current medical conditions, a clutter-free home can help seniors to breathe easier. 

Conclusion

Falls in the home are one of the leading causes of death and injury among the elderly. With lessening stamina, reduced mobility, illnesses and other medical conditions, many seniors have difficulties completing chores around the home. Physically, it may be impossible to complete basic chores that require bending or lifting, pushing a vacuum, or standing for extended periods of time. Modifications can be made around the home to reduce the risk of injuries.

Seniors may choose to be seated while cooking, fold laundry on a table, carry smaller loads of laundry, and take as much time as is needed to complete tasks. Seniors may also opt to use an outside cleaning service to complete their household chores on a regular basis. Additionally, a medical alert system can provide a layer of security and peace of mind. If a senior should fall or have a medical emergency, an alert button can be pressed to ensure that help can be quickly summoned.

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