Ugh—house chores. Let’s face it: no one looks forward to them. Sweeping, mopping, changing light bulbs, cooking, doing dishes, raking leaves…the list goes on and on. They take up our after-work hours, our weekend days–whatever precious free time we seem to have. They’re boring, tedious, and never seem to be done. And that’s not even the heavy chores–just the light housekeeping!
However, to a senior citizen, these everyday tasks can look quite different. Changing a light bulb, which they used to be able to do with ease, becomes impossible. This can lead to a dangerous situation if the light becomes so dim they can no longer see properly. Or, dirty dishes may pile up because they don’t have the energy to clean like they used to, and unsanitary conditions can result. If you notice your senior’s home life beginning to look a little run down lately, they may not be to blame. When age-related conditions take their toll, it may be time to get them some professional help at home.
Light housekeeping for health conditions
A number of different health conditions can make it hard for seniors to perform light housekeeping chores. The fatigue mentioned above is only one such example. Seniors with other ailments can also benefit from hired help around the house. If your loved one has poor eyesight, arthritis, general weakness, or difficulty walking or standing, a home health aide can be invaluable.
And it’s not only physical disabilities that make everyday tasks onerous. Mental issues such as forgetfulness and dementia can have much the same effect. Of course, if this is the case, you’re likely to want to hire full-time help at home to protect your senior’s well-being.
Light housekeeping for long and short term
You and your senior may wonder how long you’ll need light housekeeping help for. It’s a great question! For most of the conditions mentioned above, a permanent aide is probably the best solution. That’s because the senior’s conditions are unlikely to resolve on their own; the only other option is having a family member step in and cover the chores (more on that below).
However, you can also hire light housekeeping in the short-term. The most appropriate scenario for this is if your senior has a good prognosis regarding recovery from a specific ailment, such as a stroke or a heart attack. If he or she was recently released from a rehabilitation center, a few days a week of light housekeeping help for a couple of weeks might be all that’s needed.
Light housekeeping for family members
Light housekeeping services aren’t just a boon to seniors–they can take the weight off the shoulders of their family members as well. If relatives (or even close friends) who would ordinarily perform these jobs work full-time, or live far away, a little hired help can decrease a great deal of stress in their lives. And that stress can be significant; in fact, 40% to 70% of family caregivers report clinically significant symptoms of depression. Many of their caregiving duties interfere with their jobs, personal lives, health, hobbies, and not least of all–house chores.
In addition, the more precious time is spent on tiresome housekeeping duties, the less there is for seniors and families to spend together. A few hours of assistance each week can free up precious moments to cherish and make memories that can last for years to come.
Get light housekeeping sooner rather than later
Many seniors are reluctant to admit they need help until it’s too late. So even if they could benefit from light housekeeping, they may not say so right away. Instead, you may notice their housing situation start to become less and less tidy. Or they may begin skipping meals because the preparation and cleanup have become too much to handle. Talk to your senior today about hiring a home health aide or other professional to help with these routine tasks. The sooner you do, the sooner your senior has the potential to notice an improvement in their overall health.
If you are unsure of how to best help an aging loved one, the trained and compassionate staff at the Institute on Aging is here to help you make that decision and gain the best in at-home senior care. Contact us to find out more.