Improving Home Organization to Enhance Independence for Your Senior
Supporting as much independence as possible for your elderly loved one is one of the most important things that you can do in your home care journey with him. Many seniors cope with a sense of loss and depression when they enter into this type of care arrangement, feeling like they are having their lives taken away from them and worrying that they are no longer going to be able to be the people that they want to be, living the lives that they want to live. By encouraging your parent to maintain and express as much independence as possible in his daily life regardless of whatever challenges and limitations he might be facing you show him that you respect him as an individual and as your parent, and that you want to be an enhancement to his life, not the person who runs it.
Though there are many ways that you can support independence in your elderly loved one, one particularly effective and simple way is to improve home organization. Many seniors spend the vast majority of their time in their home, meaning that most of what they do and the tasks that they need handled happen there. A clear, consistent organizational plan allows you to keep the home neat, clean, and safe, while also making it easier for your parent to handle his personal care and housekeeping tasks on his own with only minimal assistance for you or his in home health care services provider.
Let these ideas inspire you for home organization strategies that can enhance independence for your senior:
- Label everything. Even people who are not dealing with cognitive challenges or memory loss sometimes have a difficult time remembering where they put something or which box in the closet contains a particular item they want. Make it easier for your parent to find what he needs, when he needs it by using a label maker to mark everything from the drawers and cabinets, to the individual storage containers in closets and the shelves in the pantry. If you do not have a label maker or do not want to make the investment, pieces of masking tape and a permanent marker work just as well.
- Keep only seasonal clothing accessible. It is a very common occurrence to see a senior who is dealing with the memory loss, confusion, and diminished judgement of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia dressed in clothing that is completely inappropriate to the season. Make sure that you take all clothing that would not work for the season out of his closet and dresser and store it safely away so that it is easier for him to choose his outfit each day.
- Store like items together. Make closets, shelves, and drawers look much more appealing, and easier to use, by organizing them according to specific and recognizable categories. Keep all short-sleeved shirts, long-sleeved shirts, pants, and sweaters with their own kind, and consider organizing by color. Arrange books so that they are kept together by topic. Organize food by meal type or specific style rather than container. Try to think of ways that you can simplify searches and decision making so that it is more accessible for your loved one.