As a 30 year veteran in health care as a Respiratory Therapist an educator I’ve learned a lot from my patients. Among the lessons of compassion, understanding and listening they also taught me a lot of helpful tips on managing everyday life and housework that I would share with others as well as apply to my own life. Whether you’re suffering from any condition, disease or disability that affects your mobility and endurance I hope you’ll find these useful. If you’re active, vibrant and otherwise healthy but want to decrease extra steps or make your life as easy as possible you might find these helpful as well.
Cleaning (my least favorite chore)
Invest in a basket or utility cart on wheels. Use this to move your cleaning supplies from room to room and also to store things that are in a room they don’t belong. This saves you from making several trips back and forth as well as wear and tear on the joints in the hands, arms, shoulders, back and knees from carrying them around.
Cooking (my second least favorite chore after cleaining This is a big problem though since I love to eat)
Keep the often used pots and pans at a higher level to eliminate too much bending and stooping. If you’re like me and have a favorite pot you use almost every day leave it out on the stove after washing. I mean, why go through the trouble of struggling hide it away in a cabinet only to pull it out again the next meal or next day. If you’re embarassed to have it out when company comes over then stick it in the oven. Just remember to remove it when you bake.
On the days you do cook fix extras and freeze so you’ll have a homecooked meal ready to heat and serve on those bad or hectic days. Think about it, how much more time does it take to fix 2 meatloaves or one larger one and freeze half. Same for stews and soups. In our house Don loves his Sunday roast so I get a larger cut of meat than the 2 of us will eat. We freeze half the roast and drippings for Leftover Sunday. On Leftover Sunday’s I thaw the meat then wrap the pre-sliced (done the previous week) roast in foil and pop in the toaster oven at 325 for 20-30 minutes. The drippings make another bowl of homemade gravy and I’ll either do real or instant potatoes or rice depending on my energy level, time and preference. We’ve even served the roast cold and just had sandwiches. Don makes a great spaghetti sauce. When I remember to remind him he’ll save a little without any meat for homemade pizza and then we’ll have a spaghetti dinner. We freeze the leftover sauce in a container and the noodles go in a ziploc freezer bag. When we’re doing leftover’s I’ll thaw the noodles then boil some water and add the noodles for a few minutes to heat or you can run them under hot water to heat. You dont’ want to cook too long or they’ll get mushy.
If you have trouble bending whether it’s from joint pain, back problems or difficulty breathing this is an area that can cause problems. You don’t realize that even with sitting fixing your hair is something that can tire you out or just the act of having your arms above your head can make it difficult to breath. Go with a maintenance free hairstyle or at least one that takes minimal maintenance to look good.
If you share a dresser make sure you take the top drawers if possible. This eliminates bending and stooping to get clothes or put them away.
Make the bed BEFORE you get out of it. That’s right. While still in bed pull the covers up on the empty side then slide out, straightening your side of the bed and it’s practically made itself. Of course I don’t always see the reason to make a bed perfectly crisp with the bedspread and pillow shams in place. It’s the same theory I have for that favorite pot in the kitchen. Why go through all that trouble if it’s only going to get messed up later that night. Of course I will go through that trouble if I’m expecting company or when I change the sheets. Nothing better than sliding between 2 crisp, neatly tucked clean sheets at night. While I’m talking about beds, how do you put the clean bedding on. Do you do like my mom did with opposite corners first. NO, STOP THAT. Start at one of the top corners and work your way around. Why take extra steps going back and forth. I also do the top sheet and comforter by folding in half lengthwise and placing it on one side of the bed with the fold in the middle. Then I just have to unfold the sheet and it’s in the perfect position without going back and forth making minute adjustments to get the sides even.
If you have a busy day planned prepare in advance for when you get home. You know the days you have 10 doctor appointments or have to transport the kids to 5 different activities in different directions or just a long busy day of shopping. Those are the days you don’t want to cook or go through your usual nighttime routine. Have everything ready for bed before you start the day. That will make it easier to relax when you get home and are ready to collapse. This is also a good time to take advantage of those frozen meals you’ve made ahead of time.