For many seniors, losing the ability to engage in some of their usual activities may lead to feelings of low self-esteem and a loss of energy. It’s important to find tasks that they can complete to help them stay active and create a sense of worth and value. If you’re stretched thin with regular caregiver duties and could use a helping hand, then you’ll appreciate the following suggested home chores, most of which should be light enough for most seniors to handle.
In the Home
Think about the tasks that you never seem to find the time to fit into your schedule, such as cleaning windows or washing the curtains, as this is a great way to make the most of a little extra help. Laundry is a great task for seniors, and those who have difficulty standing for long periods or problems with balance can sit at a table and fold clothes and towels — folding laundry is also a popular task for seniors in long-term care facilities. Other lighter home chores include polishing and dusting furniture.
In the Garden
Sunlight and fresh air benefit everyone, seniors included. Some good outdoor tasks include watering plants or the lawn. Consider a flower or vegetable garden to plant and maintain, with the added benefit of growing healthy, fresh food. A few fit seniors might want to take on mowing the yard with a push lawn mower, but almost anyone, even people with limited mobility, should be able to use a riding lawn mower to cut the grass. Exercise caution during these summertime outdoor activities; make sure that seniors working outside drink plenty of fluids and don’t let themselves get overheated or dehydrated.
In the Kitchen
Perhaps the most obvious place to put mom and dad’s experience to use is in the kitchen. Preparing food from scratch helps you eat healthier, and cooking together can be a bonding experience for the family. You might even learn some cherished family recipes. Cooking can also be a surprisingly vigorous workout for seniors: Kneading bread, for example, is a great exercise for the hands and fingers that helps them retain fine motor skills. The fresh-baked bread is a pretty nice bonus, too! Your senior’s expertise could even help you save money. For example, learning mom’s or grandma’s homemade pie crust recipe will keep you from buying it ready-made at the grocery store.
There’s a saying we have in the healthcare field that you have to “use it or lose it.” It’s important, especially for seniors, to stay active so that they feel their contribution is valued. Consider what home chores your live-in senior can do to help out.
Helping out with household chores can be a vital way for seniors to stay active, which can prevent falls. For those concerned about fall risk, a medical alert system can bring additional peace of mind to both seniors and their caregivers.