The elderly population will more than double between 2000 and 2030 according to Assisted Living Today. Only 3.5% of the senior population are in nursing homes.
This has created a demand for senior housing and assisted living facilities, which means you have more prospects that could use your residential cleaning services.
Although this is encouraging, it also means you will need to adjust your routine to accommodate their living space and medical issues. There are many unique situations you will encounter in senior homes that are not an issue with younger clients.
Issues You May Encounter
Seniors living alone sometimes isolate, especially as they age. Having a house cleaning service in their home can be seen as a social event for some. For this reason, many prefer to have an independent cleaner who can be flexible on time. For instance, some seniors like to make you coffee and tell you about their family as you sit and chat with them.
2. Help with Daily Activities
Frequently time catches up with seniors and before they’re ready they are needing assistance with their daily activities, such as eating, bathing, and dressing. If you see a need in your client base, you could plan to offer these services as they arise or partner with someone who already has the knowledge or service setup. Otherwise, it’s best to be aware of the need and know when it’s time to notify their family.
3. Poor Eyesight
Failing eyesight is a big problem with the elderly, especially macular degeneration. This means you will need to be aware of your equipment at all times. If your senior client is moving around the house while you are cleaning, make sure you place your equipment in a safe place where they won’t trip over a cord, bucket, or bottles. You may want to dry your bare floors after mopping to prevent a slip and fall situation.
4. Forgetting Appointments
Don’t be surprised when your senior client forgets their appointment day. If they are up in age, you will be bumped for more important medical appointments. A reminder phone call or notice can prevent unnecessary travel time.
5. Unable to Keep Up with Daily Chores and Housekeeping
As your elderly client ages, you may be presented with more dirt and debris than you first encountered in their early appointments. You will need to decide how you will hand this as it will impact your schedule by taking more time to clean than first estimated. It might be hard to raise their rate due to their fixed income, but you could make other arrangements to avoid the extra time.
6. Home Safety Hazards
Your senior clients who took such good care of their homes initially could become neglectful as health issues arise. You will need to take this into consideration and move carefully through their homes. Look for things such as burnt out light bulbs, loose carpeting, and broken fixtures that could impact them and you.
7. Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
It’s very common today that seniors are dealing with dementia. This makes them a little forgetful, but not to the point of being unable to know their surroundings. With Alzheimer’s, people many not know friends and family members or even whose home they are living in. This disease makes it very dangerous for the sufferer and anyone living with them. For instance, you may need to make sure all doors and windows are locked so the affected person doesn’t wander out on their own.
8. Loss of Smell
Many seniors begin to lose their sense of smell and are unaware of this. Frequently, you’ll open the refrigerator while cleaning and smell rotting food. This is a delicate situation, especially if your senior isn’t aware of the issue. Pre-planning is key to handling this appropriately as your client must be informed for their safety. Eating food that has gone bad could trigger a serious medical issue.
As you can see, providing service to seniors has its challenges, but knowing what to expect can make the job manageable. When working in senior communities, you need to consider the age of your prospect, their current situation, and be observant over the years to avoid calamity. Customer service training is especially important for your staff when working in senior homes.
Leave a comment and share your experiences in servicing the elderly.