Getting older or having health issues that impact on your physical activity can at times lead to some difficulties with daily chores such as house cleaning. Studies have shown that when older people stop attending to daily chores this can also impact on their independence and physical ability as they become less active. Most people’s aim is to stay as independent as possible and to continue to remain living in their own home.
When challenges occur, we must learn to adapt and develop strategies to manage our daily activities, this could be due to Illness, chronic health issues, fatigue, or this may be a task that you have not had to attend to before and was always managed by the person you lived with. The concerns we hear often is regarding joint and back pain, fatigue, and “I am not able to do all my cleaning in one go anymore”.
There are things you can consider when facing these challenges that may benefit you in a positive way and support you to make these tasks simpler and easier. They will also provide you with some benefit from incidental exercise along the way, which will help you remain active and keep your joints moving.
Here are a few tips which you may want to consider applying or thinking about to assist you to remain independent where possible.
The 3 P’s
Planning – This helps reduce extra trips or the number of steps in a task or activity for energy conservation. One room a day – divide activities throughout the week instead of trying to do it all in one day.
Preparing – Gather cleaning tools together and store in a lightweight basket together. Use a laundry trolley to avoid having to carry items over distances.
Pace – Pace yourself taking breaks in between chores. Short breaks during activities can help increase overall endurance.
Have you thought about looking at the equipment you are using which may be impacting on these tasks.
- Try swapping older heavier equipment for light weight easy to use equipment, such as swapping the heavy bucket and mop to a lightweight spray mop or steam mops. These can be purchased in most supermarkets as well as hardware stores, examples can be found here.
- No more bending or pulling that heavy vacuum cleaner with an electrical cord to pull around causing a trip hazard, try swapping this for a battery chargeable lightweight stick vac, which will also help you to remain upright and not have to bend putting pressure on your back.
- Use a long handles brush and pan or a carpet sweeper for those little bits in between your cleaning days, an example can be found here.
- Long handled tools such as extendable pole dusters or cobweb brooms for reaching to those higher and lower places to avoid having to climb on steps, or furniture or kneel on the floor, examples can be found here.
- Using a damp microfibre cloth collects dust easily.
- Window squeegee’s can be used on the shower screen along with environmentally friendly sprays to avoid build-up of soap scum daily, an example can be found here.
- Bath magic mops which have an extendable pole are also ideal for use in the shower and can be used on the shower screen, tiles and the shower floor. You will find these in most supermarkets, an example can be found here.
- Keep a long handles toilet brush and spray near the toilet and wipe down the seat with tissues in between.
Remember to take frequent breaks and avoid awkward stooping, overreaching and bending if possible, it is better to kneel than bend, and change position often. Using a kneeling pad and frame supports you when getting up and down with padding that also protects the knees, an example can be found here.