I have worked with seniors for some years now. From my experience, organizing seniors is a little different. They are more likely to be the ones that want to downsize and get rid of their stuff. They are also more likely to have health issues, like bending, knee problems, walking up steps, etc... Here are helpful organizing tips for organizing an older adult's home. Feel free to visit our other post: How to Create a Safe Place for Your Senior Parent. Feel free to click on the images that say "from Amazon" to check out the price and buy if you want. I also included a medication list checklist to print out. I hope you enjoy and share this post.
Raise stored items to waist height.
Store items no lower than the upper thigh. Too much bending may be an issue.
Clear clutter from steps and add lights to dark areas like near stairways.
Add railings if there is only one to the steps area helps too. Below are examples of adding light to the steps. They are from Amazon.com (affiliate).
Hang baskets on walls near stairs.
Hang baskets on walls near stairs, so they have a place to hold items to remember to bring them up the steps. Here is a great hanging basket from Amazon that you can hang at the bottom and the top of the stairs:
Buy sturdy rolling carts in the kitchen.
If they have a larger kitchen, buy a small, sturdy rolling cart to help move stuff around without carrying it. Below are examples of ones I found on Amazon.com (affiliate). I liked it because the middle basket has sides.
Take as much as possible off the floors.
Remove furniture that is not used any longer. The more space they have the better. Have items that are multipurpose, like a table that also functions as a storage for their documents. Below are some examples of coffee tables that pop up for mealtime or a place to do bills. (affiliate ads from Amazon.com)
Have all important documents in one place.
Have all important documents, like passports, life insurance, will, power of attorney, S.S. cards, account statement, in one secure and locked area in the home. See this image below or visit the post for 20 PERSONAL IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS TO KEEP SAFE Visit our HOW TO ORGANIZE IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS IN A FIREPROOF SAFE for a DIY way to organize these documents.
There are plenty of options to store these items. Look for items that are fireproof if possible. There are also estate planning books that they can right the contact information and where the documents are located in them for easy access. Below are some I found on Amazon (affiliate).
Keep a recent copy of the medication list posted on the kitchen refrigerator.
A sheet protector works well to keep the items visible and will not get dirty. Here is an example of a medicine list.
Keep valuables in a hidden place altogether under lock and key.
This way, if you have caregivers coming in and out, you can rest assured that their valuables protected. You can also remove these items and place them in a bank safe that you and your parent have access to often. Below are some examples of hidden safes you can use from Amazon.com (affiliate).
Keep all the bills in one place.
It an accordion folder that can stand with enough tabs that you can write large words on it. One 13 tab accordion folder works for any single older adult. Visit our what to keep in your bill-paying station checklist below.
Get helping hands.
Don't expect to do it yourself. It's OK to ask your other family members to help you remove the clutter. If they want the best for you, they will be happy to help.
Additional General Tips for organizing an older adult's home:
- Starting off slow is important not to overwhelm your parent. Stuff could have been around for 30, 40, 50 years and they are attached to it because it is familiar, not necessarily because it is useful.
- Label every bin to help remind the senior what goes in the bin. You can pack stuff away if they are not comfortable with getting rid of anything. This is especially true if the elderly have a lot of memorabilia that they want to keep. In this case, you can store it in the garage or attic space in a secured labeled plastic bin for safekeeping.
- Keep in mind closets can be a hazard for senior citizens, so examine these places while they are using them and then visit our post: THE ULTIMATE CLOSET ORGANIZATION TIPS FOR SENIOR CITIZENS
Visit our other posts on how to gently speak with your parent on difficult topic series.
Getting the older adult's home organized will help everyone, not just the senior living in the house. If family members know where things are, it will help a great deal if someone can not make it to do a task, it is easy to hand off the task to someone else who knows where things go.
I hope this helps you get your senior organized in their home. Now it is your turn.
What is your best time for organizing a senior's home? Please leave a comment below.