Elderly Woman talking with a caregiver while she is doing choresKeeping up with routine housekeeping duties is about much more than maintaining a pleasant appearance. An unclean home can have a direct impact on your health. For seniors who live at home, household chores are one of the biggest challenges that can threaten an independent lifestyle. Housekeeping tasks that were once merely a nuisance can become stressful and straining for older adults with diminished strength and mobility. Trying to keep up with chores that are physically demanding can be dangerous, increasing the risk of falls and injury.

One the other hand, you don’t want to neglect your housekeeping responsibilities, because a dirty, messy home comes with its own set of problems, in addition to the unsightly appearance. Let’s take a closer look at the impact an unkempt house can have on overall health, room by room.

Effects of a Filthy Kitchen

A dirty kitchen can contain a whole assortment of horrors that can be detrimental to health. Unwashed dishes, tables, and countertops are home to thousands of potentially illness-causing bacteria and viruses. Cross contamination from unwashed hands or surfaces is one the quickest ways to catch and spread bacterial infections and other illnesses. Food remnants and organic waste can lead to insect or rodent infestation, introducing a whole new level of stress.

Unwashed appliances can also accumulate with germs and grime, and a dirty oven can create a fire hazard and respiratory ailments. All surfaces in the kitchen should be routinely cleaned, disinfected, and sanitized to prevent the contraction and spread of illness.

Impact of an Unclean Bedroom

The bedroom is another area that needs regular attention to avoid negative health effects. Bed linens need to be washed and changed every couple weeks to curtail the buildup of dander and dust mites. It is estimated that the average person sheds about one ounce of skin a week in their bedsheets. This attracts dust mites that can cause allergic reactions and health conditions like asthma and rhinitis.

Floors should be vacuumed regular to prevent dust buildup, but some older vacuums can contribute to the problem rather than providing the solution. A study done on environmental science & technology showed that all vacuums release some level of dust and bacteria in the air. For optimal results it is recommended to use a vacuum that is compatible with a high-efficiency particulate (HEPA) air filter, which should be changed regularly.

Detriments of a Disgusting Bathroom

The bathroom is generally on of the hardest areas in the house to keep clean, despite all the daily personal cleaning that typically goes on in there. Every surface in the bathroom is vulnerable to harmful bacteria and parasites that can cause a range of infections and even worms which live in fecal matter.

Whenever the toilet is flushed, water particles are discharged that release pathogens into the air. Due to all the moisture naturally occurring in bathrooms, many of the surface areas are extremely susceptible to the growth of mold and mildew. Mold accumulation can also irritate allergies and cause respiratory problems.  The bathmat may be the most active hotbed for microbes to amass and spread. Bathmats trap moisture and need to be shaken out and hung up after every use. Keeping bathroom surfaces bacteria free is constant chore.

HVAC Ducts

Unchanged air filters in your heating and AC systems can circulate germs and debris around the house, polluting the indoor air quality. HVAC filters should be changed regularly, and duct work serviced to prevent mold buildup and possible infestation. Air purifiers can also be used to further remove contaminants for the air.

Cleaning Products

It is essential to keep all areas in the house clean and disinfected to reduce the risk of illness and disease. Unfortunately some of your cleaning products may be contributing to the problem as well. Many household cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, in some cases leading to more serious health conditions.

Housekeeping Assistance

If you or a loved one could benefit from some extra help around the house, assistance is available from home caregivers. Home caregivers will not only help with daily tasks and activities, they can also provide some additional companionship and accompaniment for errands and appointments. Having a trusted caregiver to provide physical and emotional support, while assisting with routines and focusing on improved health, can provide the encouragement and backing needed to continue living independently.