Tips to Help an Aging Parent Get Organized

Tips to Help an Aging Parent Get Organized

Tips to Help an Aging Parent Get Organized

As your parents begin to age, chances are you worry about their safety when they are out running errands or performing other everyday activities. What most people don’t realize is that the biggest threat to an elderly person is their home, where clutter may begin to pile up or other unsafe conditions can occur. Helping a parent get organized is the key to ensuring he or she is safe at home.

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Because this type of conversation can be difficult, it may be tempting to simply start cleaning and organizing on the sly. However, once your parent notices the changes, he or she may feel offended or fear losing independence. You should always have a conversation first, but don't be accusatory. Instead of naming a list of problems, start by asking your parent how he or she has been feeling. You can also bring up the topic by casually asking if old magazines are being saved for a project or mentioning you can't find something that should be in a specific cupboard or closet. As the conversation progresses, offer to help organize the house. If he or she is resistant, be honest about your fears for safety and reassure that you won't start throwing everything out.

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Together with your parent, take stock of each room, noting areas that need to be organized or completely cleaned out. Several spaces are common areas that the elderly may find difficult to keep organized. For example, the refrigerator, freezer and cabinets in the kitchen may be full of expired food or simply too disorganized to easily find what is needed. If regularly needed items like coats, extra blankets and pillows or medical equipment are too high on closet shelves, they may pose a safety hazard. Laundry rooms and storage rooms may become in disarray or bookshelves too overflowing to be safe. If your parent has a pet, consider whether it has toys and food scattered about. Finally, check for fall risks and fire hazards such as items piled on stairs or in the hallway. Once you have a list of items to organize, it's time to get to work.

Start to Organize


The first step to getting organized is to get rid of obvious clutter. As you go through each room, closet and cabinet, make piles for items that should be tossed as well as those that can be sold, donated or stored elsewhere. Take the time to go through each item with your parent. He or she will feel better knowing that you aren't making all the decisions and you may even end up taking a fun trip down memory lane. Once you've cleared out items, organize the rest. Ensure items that are used most often are always within easy reach and reassure your parent that you are available to help reach items that are used less often and stored out of reach. If the rooms still feel cluttered, consider paring down the furniture or rearranging to streamline rooms.

Once the job is done, you can keep things organized with items such as portable laundry sorters or garment closets. Tidy Living provides such items and if you sign up for our email newsletter, we’ll give you 20% off Promo code for your first order.


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