Each year for most of your life, you probably felt the “spring cleaning” itch beginning in March. Our instincts don’t change all that much after we retire, but our priorities might be a bit different. This year, focus your spring cleaning efforts on making your home safer. Consider these five tips to tidy up your home.
Take precautions while cleaning. Don’t move heavy items yourself, avoid standing on chairs to change light bulbs, and switch to cordless appliances to reduce tripping hazards.
Get rid of clutter. Clutter can increase your risk of an accident, particularly trips and falls. Get rid of unnecessary clutter that creates a hazard, especially through your primary walkways. If you use a lot of throw rugs, either give them away or tape them down to the floor. Ask a relative, friend, or hired helper to rearrange your furniture to make rooms safer to navigate.
Clean up your medicine cabinet. Throw out old, expired medications. Most of these are no longer effective, and sometimes they’re not even safe. Organize your prescription and over-the-counter medications so that you can easily find what you need, and store them in an airtight container in a cool, dark, and dry room.
Check your emergency alarm systems. Change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If you have a security system, ask your security company about running a test to be sure everything is working properly.
Create an emergency response system. Ask yourself how you would handle a fall, burglary, severe weather events, fires, and so on, and make a plan to address any risks. Put together an emergency supplies kit, keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, and post a list of important numbers near your phone.
These five items won’t necessarily prevent any type of harm, but can minimize the damage if something unexpected does occur. Most importantly, ask a friend, relative, or neighbor to check on you during serious events, and periodically at other times if they don’t hear from you. The more safeguards you have in place, the more likely you are to overcome any minor to major event.