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Examiner
  • Seniors: Spring-clean for safety

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  • Spring is the season for cleaning. Whether you look forward to it or not, spring cleaning is not just about making your home look fresh and clean.
    “You should do it for safety,” said Erin Alvers, director of marketing for Home Instead, a source for home and senior care services in Omaha, Neb. “Most of us tend to get caught up in clutter creep. At least once a year, you should take a walk through the house. Focus on one room at a time. Take it in bits and pieces and slowly get there.”
    Alvers offered the following advice:
    - In the kitchen focus on decluttering, especially all those pots and pans, kitchen tools and junk drawers. “Sometimes you just put things back after using them, but is it in the best place?” Alvers said. “Now is the time to reorganize. Some things that are not used so often can be put on higher or lower shelves.” Don’t forget the fridge and especially the freezer, where expired and old food can be a safety issue.
    - The medicine cabinet is the main focus of spring cleaning in the bathroom. Contact your local pharmacy to learn about community drug take-back programs and how to dispose of old medications properly. Follow any specific disposal instructions on the prescription drug labeling or patient information that accompanies the medicine. Do not flush medicines down the sink or toilet unless this information specifically instructs you to do so.
    - In the bedroom, “clean any papers or old magazines on countertops or under beds, which can be a huge fire hazard,” Alvers said. Take some time to organize closets that may be bursting with clothes and shoes shoved in over the past few months. If possible, reorganize clothes and shoes for the season.
    - Making sure all stairways are clear is essential to avoid tripping hazards. “Stuff piles up. Books and magazines have a way of accumulating. Get it off the stairs. It’s especially dangerous on the steps to the basement, where people will put things to bring down later — but never do,” Alvers said.
    - The basement tends to be the catch-all for all a home’s excess. “It’s the last place that gets looked at,” Alvers said. Make sure no papers have accumulated by the hot water heater, which is a fire hazard. Pick up any paper or — surprise — food that many have been left down there. “Basements can become unsanitary and attract rodents if food is left out,” Alvers said.
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