What are the first signs that someone is struggling to look after themselves? Sometimes it’s that they’re not eating properly or that personal care is a problem. And sometimes it’s that day to day housekeeping isn’t what it used to be because accumulating clutter stops the cleaner doing her job properly
Most often, it’s an interconnected web of all three. Deciding to employ a live-in carer can be a difficult, emotionally charged decision for the person needing care and their family. It’s hard to accept that you can’t look after yourself anymore and to dread the loss of independence, control and privacy. However, if you have the right support and put the right processes in place, this can make preparing for care significantly easier.
Decluttering and organising are very popular amongst the young, but not many oldies know how much it can help them, especially when they’re preparing for a carer. They fear they’ll be bossed into throwing their whole life into a skip. Nothing could be further from the reality of a sympathetic expert. They’ll make your environment safer, more attractive and easier to manage. They’ll set up simple systems so that you stay in control of the paraphernalia of everyday life. They’ll set the standards and framework of how you want things done by the carer.
An expert declutterer will ask you to show them around and describe all your day to day routines. They’ll ask lots and lots of questions like:
- Where you like to put your cup of early morning tea?
- What do you need on your bedside table?
- Which clothes do you like to wear most?
- Where do you put your clothes when you take them off?
- What hasn’t got aproper place so just builds up into piles?
- What has got a proper place but you can’t reach it or it’s too far away?
- When do you sit in your favourite chair and what you do when you’re there – watch television, do your internet banking, look at mail order catalogues?
- What do you want to be able to do for yourself in the kitchen?
- Where do you keep medicines?
- Where do you keep your outdoor shoes and your handbag or wallet?
It’s your personal lifestyle consultation. The aim isn’t to change everything in your life, it’s to change as little as possible but make sure the little changes make a big difference to your wellbeing. And to help your carer take better care of you.
Once the declutterer understands your routines and what you want and like, they’ll make suggestions:
- Rearranging your bedside table so that you have plenty of room for the things you need but nothing that gets in the way or spills or gathers dust.
- Moving things in your wardrobe and drawers so that you can see all the things you like to wear most and your carer knows where to find them and where to put them away.
- Making sure there’s somewhere to put your clothes when you take them off so a pile of clothes doesn’t accumulate on a chair.
- Setting up a ‘landing zone’ for newspapers, periodicals and catalogues so your carer knows where to put the latest issues and can get rid of the ones you’ve finished with.
- Organising the space around your favourite chair including finding the perfect ‘desk tidy’ so that everything is in easy reach and everyone knows where your remote controls, a pen and notebook, your iPhone charger and your reading glasses belong.
- Setting up a system for the mail so that nothing important gets lost or forgotten.
- Rearranging the kitchen so that the counter tops are clear, everything has a place and you can reach anything you need.
- Setting up a system for your medicines so you or your carer can always find them and they’re safely away from pets and visiting children.
- Making sure all the boring necessities of getting older like incontinence pads are easily accessible but not in full view all the time.
- Arranging everything you need by the front or back door so trips out are as easy as possible.
And your expert declutterer / lifestyle consultant will always make sure there’s space for photos of loved ones and vases of flowers where you can see them!
Like everything, the earlier you can start planning and preparing for a carer, the smoother and easier the transition will be. Decluttering and organising will help you make the most of the support a carer gives you.
If you’d like to know more about Good Sorts our website is www.good-sorts.co.uk