Please give me tips for my mom's house!

ramriceJune 11, 2008

My mom lives about 25 miles away, so between work, kids, etc, I only go there about 2x a month, but more in the summer when the kids are off school.

I went there yesterday, and it took me an hour (and plenty of sponges/paper towels) just to clean the bathroom.

She has emphysema, is 78 years old, and still smokes. Needless to say, she doesn't do much cleaning, and the clening she does is very light.

I'm planning to go over there in the summer once a week to wash her walls, clean her floors, etc, etc.

Does anyone have any cleaning tips to make this easier?

I am planning on buying her some of those toilet tablets so her toilet will stay cleaner between scrubbings. I guess I'm looking for something else of this nature which would assist me so I don't have to start from square one all the time.

BTW, a cleaning service is out of the question and so is her moving, so I really don't need any types of those suggestions.

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I am in a similar position with my MIL. One thing to keep in mind is that the elderly can be very resistent to change. So resist the urge, at least initially, to do anything that really disrupts her home. While the place may not be clean enough for you, it may be clean enough for her (especially if she has bad eyesight).

It is hard to give advice on particular products to use without knowing types of flooring she has or whether her bathtub is porcelain or vinyl.

It is said that the toilet tablets distroy the rubber gaskets in the toilets.

The two things I would suggest stocking up on are microfiber cloths and the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Go to the automotive section of WalMart or Costco and buy a bag of 25 microfiber cloths. You have to wash them separately from your other rags to keep them lint free.

Another cleaning product that people here are raving about is Greased Lightning. I haven't used it yet, but they say it is great.

And finally, take time to just be with your mom rather than showing up to clean. She will look forward to your visits instead of dreading them.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 8:43AM
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Your mom might qualify for assistance to clean her home on a weekly or bi-monthly basis. Check with a Senior/Elder program in your area. Even if it costs a small amount, it would take a lot of pressure off of you and put some of the responsibility back on your mother. With my own parents, I noticed they stepped-up their own level of care when they knew someone was going to come clean (besides ME).

I'd also suggest paying for a professional - top to bottom - cleaning periodically, rather than doing all that work yourself. All that money spent on gas going back and forth might be more than enough to have a thorough cleaning done once every 3-6 months. Professionals are also equal to these large-scale tasks because of equipment and experience.

This is from someone who's life was put on hold by their parents demands. I eventually quit my job to take care of my parents and that ungrateful MIL! First it was the trip once a week to mow the lawn (we also had a 25-mile trip - one way - to one place and 35 to the other). Then it was come get them to get groceries, doctor appointments, once-a-week hair appontments - but never on the same day as something else.... SAVE YOURSELF! Sorry, I was having a bad flash-back ...


    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 11:19AM
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I, too, was in your situation. I finally had to give up the cleaning and just try to maintain order. What grainlady and graywings say is true - resistance, eyesight, orneriness, etc., life-long habits, are all part of it.

My mother finally told me that when I was there cleaning, I wasn't WITH her, and that's what she really wanted. It is not important to her to have things dusted, vacuumed, "cleaned" as we do it for most of our lives. Besides - how dirty can one person make it? Under all Mom's clutter, the house itself was fairly clean from the last time I had done it, at least six months before she got sick and had to move - which I had to do for her by myself!

My mom was a packrat junkaholic all my life, and she still is. While she still lived at home I tried to spend less than an hour "cleaning" her place. I concentrated on getting rid of clutter, newspapers and junk mail, keeping the kitchen and bathroom tidy, but rarely washing the floors, dusting or vacuuming. To heck with it! I paid her bills and did her laundry at my house and did her grocery shopping on my way to her house, which was 45 miles from mine.

It's very difficult to run two households to a high standard all by yourself. If her standards changed, let them. If they haven't changed and she's miserable in the mess, it's time to move to assisted living. Try to accept what you cannot change and enjoy each other's company.

When it comes time to sell the house or move from the apartment, then clean it. But skip wall-washing. It's absolutely unimportant!


    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 1:49PM
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Thanks for all the tips! My mom doesn't ask me to clean, or ask me for anything else. In fact, she won't call me for a few weeks at least if I don't call her. I just want to clean because I know she can't clean well anymore. I also spend a few hours with her before I'll clean for 1-2 hours. I think she's rather grateful even though she tells me not to bother.

I think I will skip the walls.

Thanks for the microfiber cloth tip. I think I'll just get those and some bleach, ammonia, and maybe some Greased Lightening (I have used it at her house in the past).

If she gives up smoking her house would be so much easier to clean. She has been talking about giving it up again, but I'll hold my breath for that. And I'm a respiratory therapist so she knows all the good reasons already!

BTW--I've seen those ceiling fan dusters on HGTV, but I can never seem to find them at the store--has anyone used them?

Also, what is the best top of scrubbing mop to use on a very old lineolum type 1970s green kitchen floor?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 6:06PM
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I am so fortunate I don't have to deal with maintaining my Mom's home. She's 85, blind, has emphysema (still smokes !!!but uses oxygen round the clock). she's also frail and resists any change. She got mad at my sister for replacing her kitchen curtains for Mothers Day. My unemployed brother lives with Mom and in exchange for free rent he keeps the house clean and lawns mowed. I thought he was sponging off her. Turns out it's a mutually-helpful situation! I live 500 miles away and I only come to visit her about twice a year. My brother keeps track of her oxygen deliveries, takes her shopping, takes her to doctor appointments, so I don't have to worry about her. I am so grateful!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 10:36AM
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I am seriously considering getting my mom an Irobot roomba. There is one for $129 at that I just ordered for myself. If it works well, I'll just bring it to her house and show her how to use it.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 1:27PM
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