Sylvia Todor AuthorSylvia Todor, Regional Marketing Director with Kindred at Home, offers advice on signs to look for with elderly loved ones and how personal home care assistance can help. Here, she provides information on understanding why the elderly may have limitations when it comes to keeping their homes clean and odor-free.

As we age, it can become harder to take care of ourselves and our homes. If your parents always kept their home clean and tidy when they were younger, it may be hard to understand why things have changed as they have grown older. There are several factors that can contribute to this and it's important for family members and other loved ones to be aware of the changes and understand why it might be happening. By understanding the challenges your elderly family members and loved ones face, you can help get them the assistance they need to keep their homes clean.

One reason help might be needed is that our senses of sight and smell decline as we age. If there are accidents or problems going to the bathroom, your loved ones may not be aware that they didn't clean up the room or themselves well enough to remove odors or stains. They also may not be able to see dirt or stains in their homes or smell other bad odors such as spoiled food or mold. Even if they are physically able to address dirt or smells in the home, they simply may not notice them.

Simply meeting the physical demands of cleaning can be an issue even if they don't have medical problems that would obviously prevent them from doing so. The elderly may be unable to use step ladders to reach high shelves without the risk - or fear - of falling. They may not be able to bend down easily to keep the floors clear or put items away. When they're unable to keep up with the work and the cleaning isn't done well or regularly, they may rely instead on strong cleansers or air fresheners to address the dirt or bad smells. This doesn't solve the issue and may only add to it.

Elderly loved ones may not tell you about the problem or ask for help, but you should be aware of their home environment and what it is telling you about their ability to care for themselves on their own. Personal home care assistance can help your loved ones with personal care (bathing, dressing, help with the bathroom), light housekeeping, laundry, linen changes, meal preparation, transportation, running errands and medication reminders. They also can help watch over your loved one and provide companionship.