Research shows that more natural light is better for everyone, especially for people with aging eyes. So clean both the inside and outside of the windows, and examine the window treatments to ensure that they are not blocking sunlight. Also, don't forget the final step in cleaning the windows: Be sure to raise the storms and lower the screens so that your parents can have fresh air throughout the spring, summer and fall when the weather permits.
This is the perfect time to update the lightbulbs throughout the house. Consider using compact fluorescent bulbs. They've been proven to be an effective investment that can save money and increase brightness.
Hallways and Entrances
If your mom's house is anything like my mother's, it's been collecting "stuff" over the winter and might not have been paid attention to during her spring cleaning, so help her clean up the dust and clear out the clutter. In high traffic areas like halls and doorways, it's easy to accumulate piles of things. So, tidying up improves both appearance and safety. Clutter can result in falls, and most fractures among older adults are caused by falls. Even more important, many people who fall develop a fear of falling that can cause them to limit their daily activity. Cleaning these small areas of the house can have a big payoff.
If your loved one's home doesn't have smoke detectors, this is a great time to install them. If the home already has them, check the batteries and make sure the detectors are functioning properly. Other security devices such as fire extinguishers or carbon monoxide monitors should be checked as well. Finally, this is a good time to make sure both you and a trusted neighbor have keys to your mom's house so that someone can get in should the need arise.
When you're outside cleaning the windows, check to make sure shrubs or trees are not limiting the natural light. A quick bit of pruning can make a world of difference inside the home. Also, make sure that any hard landscaping — such the front walk, any steps, or the deck, porch or patio — is in good condition and doesn't present a trip hazard. And be sure to check that all outside lights are bright and in good condition.
A Job Well Done
When you're done with these chores, your loved one's house is ready for all the fun times with the grandkids. If you've:
- opened up a conversation along with "opening the windows";
- cleaned out the closets and straightened out your Mom's meds;
- noticed some areas of concern around the house and given some suggestions to help your mom and dad.
Then you, the house and your parents are ready for summer. Enjoy!