As seniors age, many find that it’s harder to complete everyday tasks independently. Simple chores like scrubbing or mopping the floors might be challenging for a senior who can have a hard time bending or standing for too long. Helping a senior meet this need is important because keeping the bathroom clean is more than comfort and aesthetics – it can affect the safety and health of aging adults too. If you need a guide for cleaning a bathroom , read here.
Why is Having a Clean Bathroom Important for Seniors?
Viruses and bacteria are organisms that live for a long time, especially on hard surfaces like those found in bathrooms. Since older adults are more susceptible to illnesses, it can take a long time for their bodies to recover when they get sick. This is because their bodies don’t produce as many white blood cells, antibodies, and T-cells as younger people. And their immune response becomes slower, too.
Aging adults commonly have thin skin, making them susceptible to skin tears and wounds that can cause infections. Also, some seniors don’t tend to wash their hands enough, especially those with dementia, so minimizing the microbes they come in contact with is essential.
Besides the prevention of diseases, a clean bathroom can also make a home safer for seniors. The risk of falling is greater for people over the age of 65, and falls can lead to injuries, reduced independence, decreased mobility, and even death.
Mold and soap scum left in unclean bathrooms can make slippery floors and tubs. If they aren’t cleaned regularly, the excess water left to puddle on the floor and tubs can lead to excessive slippery buildup. Mopping, wiping down surfaces, and using cleaning solutions can help keep the bathroom clean.
Tips to Clean Bathroom for the Elderly
Whether an elderly person resides in their own home or an assisted living community, someone’s got to do the cleaning. Arthritis can make even simple wiping down the shower door a hard task, and the risk of falling due to lack of proper balance is a common problem. If you can’t always be around, help your elderly keep their home clean with these safety tips:
Dedicate a day to cleaning the bathroom.
Many younger people dedicate one day a week to cleaning the house. They may sweep, vacuum, change the sheets, clean the windows, do laundry, clean the bathroom in one day. But for seniors, this is a lot of work. Encourage your elderly family or friend to clean one room only each day instead of wearing themselves out. This can cut down on the time and effort that need to tackle an entire house.
Use helpful tools.
While a clean cloth or rag, brush, and some cleaning solution can do the trick for most cleaning tasks, these options are limiting for seniors. They must look into tools that can make their cleaning tasks more manageable. For instance, an elderly can use a clean, hard-bristle broom and a cleaning solution to scrub the shower and tub. This will help make cleaning hard-to-reach places easier. Another trick is to wrap a cloth around the broom and secure it with a rubber band. This would help for any surface that needs wiping. Or, you can buy an all-around mop that you can use to wipe down the shower walls and the floor.
Create proper storage and organization.
Avoid having too much stuff on the vanity and shelves. This will not only make cleaning the bathroom easier, but it can also prevent any spills and accidents in the future. The more items you have out, the greater the chances of clutter falling, landing on the floor, and creating a slip and fall hazard. Help your senior throw out any expired products or take off the items they don’t use much in the bathroom. Also, make sure that all items are within their reach so the elderly won’t need to strain or stretch to reach their items.
Clean messes immediately.
The longer the stain sits, the harder it is to clean. Seniors can keep a healthier home, especially in the bathroom and kitchen, by addressing messes as they happen. Keep cleaning wipes and tissues on hand for quick issues, and make sure there’s a brush with a large rubber handle for easy cleaning. For the elderly, cleaning up as they go is the best way to avoid having to dedicate a whole day to cleaning the bathroom.
Label the bathroom cleaning products.
Adding big labels to products can help seniors with vision problems or dementia to keep their cleaning products organized. To prevent a senior from using a toilet bowl cleaner to clean their shower door, you can add a big label that says what the solution cleans. Sometimes, the label for brand-name products doesn’t easily tell what it is used for, so make sure your senior relative or friend can use the right product for the right cleaning task by labeling the cleaning products. It will work for other cleansers used in the home as well.
Use vinegar as a cleaning solution.
It’s best to avoid using harsh-smelling chemicals like bleach as these can be unhealthy for the lungs, especially for elders who have asthma or trouble breathing. The good thing is that seniors can use vinegar to take care of even the toughest jobs. Vinegar is safe and effective for cleaning lots of areas in the home.
Limescale that builds upon faucets, showerheads, and other bathroom fixtures can be hard to remove. If you try to wrap them in a towel soaked in vinegar overnight, the limescale can dissolve without needing some elbow grease.
White vinegar can also help the seniors keep their toilet bowls clean. Try filling a mason jar with white vinegar, then put a few holes in the lid. Then, place the jar inside the water tank to help keep the toilet spotless for weeks.
Ask for help.
Sometimes, seniors won’t be able to tackle cleaning themselves. This calls for assistance from their loved ones or friends who can pop in and help them do some of the harder cleaning tasks. Offer to clean their bathroom and do other cleaning tasks like vacuuming, doing the dishes, doing the laundry, etc. Making a day out of helping the elderly can be a fun way to get the job done and spend some time with your elderly to show how much you care.