Senior Organizing Tips
From the certified professional organizers of Sorted Out in Dallas.
Seniors and their caretakers can all benefit from keeping organized. Whether its family members doing the care or in an assisted living center, ensuring smooth sailing on a day to day basis makes everyone’s lives easier. In our experience, these are some of the top areas where being organized can really make a difference for seniors.
Downsizing for Seniors
At this stage in life, seniors have had a chance to collect plenty of things—from pots and pans to priceless heirlooms. Many families feel overwhelmed when taking on the task of organizing their parents’ home, paperwork, etc. Sorting through all the clothes, mementos, and things that probably should have already been thrown away is a big task. We recommend starting out by discussing the goals for downsizing and the realistic space that’s available.
If they are relocating to a smaller space, you’ll need to have specific requirements for how much can be kept. It’s important that all items in their new home are accessible and there to serve a purpose. If a senior is aging-in-place, purging unnecessary items makes it safer and easier for them to be independent at home. In that case, make the goal specific to their daily life, and making those tasks more manageable.
Having extra clutter around means more cleaning and more things to get in the way as seniors navigate their home. If the senior is resistant to purge items or it causes tension between family, a neutral third party may be helpful guide the process.
How often do we forget to take our own vitamins and prescriptions? It’s even more critical for seniors and everyone who cares for them to be on the same page when it comes to medications. Clearly label the types of medications and keep the same categories of meds all together so you can see what they are taking and how many need to be refilled.
Create a tracking system to mark when medications have been taken, and a master list of the correct quantities and times to be administered. This can be done on paper, or with an app depending on who will be contributing to the care. It’s also helpful to label medications with the symptoms they treat so if a senior is having heartburn, it’s easy to find the acid-reducer on their own.
Assisted living facilities should have their own protocols for dispensing medications, so be sure to communicate with their staff and the senior separately to ensure it’s being followed. Having a master list also makes it easy to provide to doctors and pharmacists who can review for changes or potential drug interactions.
Clear Containers and Smart Storage
Out of sight, out of mind is even more apparent when your vision starts to decline. Having everything a senior needs as visible as possible helps them to navigate shelves and closets. Our go-to answer is to use clear storage as much as possible. Not only that, but store just about everything you can in a clear bin with a large print label. If they need to get something from the back of a cabinet or the refrigerator, they can simply slide the bin forward for an easier reach.
Another great way to keep items visible and easy to reach is to use a lazy susan. Being able to spin and reach commonly used items is so convenient, you might want to do this in your own house as well. Along with smarter storage options, make sure to keep everything at a mid-level height as much as possible. This helps to prevent falls or dropping things that are too high or too low to handle.
Assisted Care Organizing
Taking care of seniors takes special consideration for their unique needs. Assisted living facilities are working hard to care for many residents at once. Streamlining processes, organizing office flow, and smart supply storage can improve efficiencies all around. When things become too chaotic too often, it’s the perfect time to reassess your processes and optimize your set up.
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- Top 5 Ways to Boost Memory for Seniors - March 2, 2020