Unclutter your health!

06/05/2019
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By Maia Dolphin-Krute, Volunteer Health Advisor, Cambridge Health Alliance

Spring is here! This time of year offers a perfect moment to stop and enjoy the outdoors and the beautiful flowers budding, like tulips and daffodils. It’s an exciting moment and a welcome relief from the colder months but it also means we should think about kicking off our spring cleaning efforts ... a dreaded task for many. However, for older folks, this chore holds especially important health benefits.

Cleaning inside the home can vastly improve indoor air quality. Increasingly, research shows that indoor air can have as much, if not more, of an impact on overall health compared to pollution outside. Poor air quality may cause irritation to the eyes or throat and worsen existing medical conditions like asthma. Older adults, and people with pre-existing conditions, should be especially mindful about ensuring the air in the house is clean since they are at greater risk.

Here are simple ways to keep the air cleaner in your home:

  • Make sure that air conditioners, fans or vents are clean and dust-free before plugging them in for the season.
  • Clear away clutter from surfaces (kitchen table, dresser, coffee table, etc.) and dust each at least once a week.
  • If you are already suffering from allergies, remove shoes before entering the home. This small change may help to keep pollen and other allergens from impacting air quality.

While in the cleaning spirit, it’s a great chance to make sure each room has a clear pathway. This is especially important for older adults since clear paths will help to reduce the likelihood of falls in the home. At the same time, open the medicine cabinet and sort through medications based on the expiration date. Be sure to open each bottle and discard pills if they smell bad or appear to be discolored. If you need to dispose of prescription drugs, see if there is a designated Prescription Dropbox Location near you.

Starting a spring cleaning project may seem like a daunting task at first but it can become easier by breaking it into smaller activities each day spread out over several weeks. Reach out to family and friends and see if they have time to help and look through old photo albums and mementos with you while cleaning. It’s always easier to do chores and big tasks with loved ones. One last suggestion, while cleaning, remember to organize important documents, marriage license, birth certificate, health insurance information, and other financial information. It’s helpful for family members to understand where these vital documents are in case there is an emergency.

If you are exploring options in care, meet the compassionate team at Cambridge Health Alliance by calling 617-665-1305 or visit www.challiance.org/cha/find-a-doctor.

Cambridge Health Alliance

Contributed By: Cambridge Health Alliance

Cambridge Health Alliance is an academic community health care system committed to serving all members of our communities. We have expertise in primary care, mental health and substance abuse, and caring for diverse and complex populations. CHA patients receive high quality care in convenient neighborhood locations, and have seamless access to advanced care through CHA’s affiliation with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. With over 140,000 patients in Cambridge, Somerville Everett and Boston’s Metro North, CHA is working hard to offer the integrated services its communities need now, and in the future.