February 19, 2016

Mom Needs a Housekeeper: Knowing When It’s Time to Hire Help

If your mom is anything like mine, she takes tremendous pride in her home and keeping it clean, beautiful, and clutter-free.  However, keeping up with household chores can become a tremendous burden when faced with health and mobility issues as we get older. It may be difficult to convince your mother that she needs a little help around the house, but there are a few telltale signs that indicate it might be time to outsource a few cleaning tasks.

Risks of an Unkempt Home

Not only is a messy home a bit unsightly, but it can also be unsafe. Clutter on the floor can cause trips and falls, and contents of an organized closet could fall onto your mom and injure her. Eating off of dirty dishes could make her ill, and wearing unclean clothes can cause skin rashes and infections.

There are varying degrees of household chores, so while your mom may be able to keep up with dusting and dishes, she might need a little help with taking out the trash on snowy days or mopping the floors for spring cleaning. Hoarding has emerged as a serious problem among seniors, so it’s important to manage a household before it gets out of control.

Signs It's Time to Hire Help

  • You notice a decline in cleanliness and organization
  • Mom has limited mobility or balance issues
  • Mom has unexplained bruising
  • Mom has a health condition that makes her fatigued or forgetful
  • You notice stacks of dirty dishes, laundry, and unopened mail
  • You and other family members live too far away to help regularly
  • Your mom lives alone and wants to remain independent

If your mom is insistent that she does not yet need help with housekeeping, then try to make chores as safe and accessible for her as possible. For example, walking aids and reachers can help seniors get around the house and pick up objects in hard-to-reach places. Moms who could use a little extra help with daily tasks may benefit from a home care aid, a professional  who can also help prepare meals and run errands.

Housekeeper Hiring Tips

Here are some housekeeper hiring tips to keep in mind as you start looking for someone to help mom with cleaning chores.

  • Meet with several potential housekeepers to assess their experience and trustworthiness
  • Obtain references, a resume, and a background check
  • Choose someone who is familiar with senior care issues
  • Discuss payment expectations up-front
  • Create a formal or informal contract that identifies housekeeper responsibilities
  • Initially hire a housekeeper on a contingency basis for a few weeks to see how it goes
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