One of the simplest pleasures in life is a load of clean, dry laundry. There’s something undeniably soothing about putting on a warm sweater right out of the dryer, or climbing into a bed with crisp, fresh sheets. Unfortunately, many seniors miss out on these simple pleasures as they age in place. The truth is that older individuals find it increasingly difficult to do their own laundry as they move through their golden years, and this can lead to issues with health, hygiene, and even feelings of low self-worth.
The good news is that you can provide your senior with fresh linens and clothing at all times with laundry services. Thanks to SeniorsMatter, you can find laundry service providers that specifically cater to elder individuals with additional options like in-home wash and fold, pickup and delivery, and light housekeeping. If you’d like to learn more, feel free to browse our Resource Hub to find a range of senior care providers in your area that can provide fresh laundry, geriatric care management, home care services, and much more.
Laundry services – making sure your loved one feels fresh and clean
What are laundry services for seniors?
Laundry services for seniors ensure that your elderly loved one is always sleeping in a comfortable, fresh bed and wearing soft, clean clothing. They may be performed by a company specializing in laundry services, or it may be included as part of housekeeping services or home care services For many adults, laundry seems like a simple enough chore – but seniors often struggle to complete this task efficiently and regularly. When you enlist the help of a laundry service provider, you take the stress out of laundry, allowing your senior to enjoy a hygienic lifestyle without letting their physical limitations get in the way.
What happens if I let my senior do their own laundry?
Doing the laundry can actually become a risky task for seniors as physical limitations set in. The risk of falling is significant, as laundry typically involves carrying hampers, bending, and the potential of wet, slippery surfaces. These hazards are compounded when seniors have to travel back and forth to the laundromat or walk up and down staircases to do their laundry. In many homes, laundry machines are located in the basement. This means that seniors often have to make the perilous journey down dimly-lit basement staircases while carrying laundry baskets and detergent. This is a clear and obvious recipe for tragedy.
According to the CDC, 36 million falls are reported among seniors each year – resulting in over 32,000 deaths. 20% of these falls result in serious injuries, such as fractured bones or concussions. Hip fractures are incredibly common among senior fall victims, and over 95% of hip fractures are caused by falls. These statistics are worth keeping in mind if your senior is struggling to overcome physical limitations or disabilities to complete daily tasks such as laundry.
Can laundry services for seniors help family caregivers avoid burnout?
While laundry is a relatively simple task, it is nonetheless quite time-consuming. This gets to be tiresome for family caregivers who have to juggle care with other work and family responsibilities. If you’re already helping your senior with meals, medical appointments, and other personal care tasks, laundry can feel like the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Burnout is a very real and serious issue among family caregivers today. The CDC reports that caregiving can be “emotionally and physically demanding,” and that almost 37% of family caregivers get insufficient sleep. The CDC also reports that caregivers are at increased risk for having “multiple chronic diseases” because they neglect their own personal health care while focusing on the needs of others.
Delegating laundry duty to a professional service provider gives you more time and flexibility, helping you avoid burnout as you continue to prioritize your senior’s health care and well-being.
Why would my senior need laundry services?
Seniors primarily need laundry services due to physical limitations. As elder loved ones age, they inevitably find it harder to bend down, lift heavy laundry baskets, walk up and down staircases, and so on. Health conditions and disabilities can make this even more challenging. For example, your senior might be struggling with arthritis, chronic pain, or the after-effects of a hip fracture.
Mental or cognitive limitations can also make doing the laundry difficult. Whether your senior is experiencing dementia or light memory issues, laundry could turn into an unexpectedly demanding task. For example, your senior might simply forget to do laundry. Or perhaps they remember to start the laundry in the washer but forget to put it in the dryer, creating a musty, smelly mess that lingers on clothes. Some seniors overload washing machines, leading to inadequate cleaning, broken appliances, or even flooding.
Can clean bedding improve a senior’s health care?
Fresh, clean laundry also helps boost general hygiene and physical health. Seniors are especially vulnerable to issues like bedsores, rashes, infections, allergies, and irritations. Clean bed linens and clothing help prevent many of these issues – especially with the help of a professional laundry service that uses safe, gentle, and disinfecting detergents. Dirty clothing can even promote the spread of viruses and bacteria, making seniors sick. A 2010 study found that clean laundry is critical in preventing MRSA infections.
Clean bedding may be especially helpful if your senior is bedridden. Regularly changing sheets is very important in this scenario, as it can help prevent bedsores and other infections. According to Nurse.com, silky, fresh, and antimicrobial sheets can dramatically reduce ulcer development while boosting the natural healing process.
Can clean bedding boost a senior’s mental health?
According to the Sleep Foundation, there is also a considerable link between sleep quality and clean bedding. And as we all know, adequate sleep is critically important for overall health care, boosting our energy levels, healing abilities, and cognitive function. Since older adults often experience interrupted slumber, it’s especially important to give them everything they need for a good night’s rest.
Clean clothes and bedding may also boost a senior’s mental health. Many older individuals feel embarrassment or even shame if their personal hygiene begins to slip – especially if they are forced to accept that they’re simply no longer capable of basic tasks like laundry. According to several studies, there is a clear link between messy living environments and negative mental health issues. Adding full service laundry to your senior’s care plan helps them maintain a sense of dignity, well-being, and hope for the future.
What are some signs I should seek out laundry services?
If you’re not sure whether your senior needs laundry services, there are a number of signs you might want to watch out for:
- They are wearing the same clothes for days
- They let laundry and other light housekeeping tasks lapse
- Your senior is starting to have more body odor issues
- You notice stains on your senior’s clothing
- Your senior’s clothes seem wrinkled or crumpled
- Your senior’s clothing seems damp or moldy
- Your senior’s clothing seems to be shrinking
Questions to ask yourself as you consider laundry services
- How much time do I spend each week doing my senior’s laundry?
- Is my senior physically fit enough to do laundry on a regular basis?
- What medical conditions might prevent my senior from doing laundry?
- Is my senior particularly vulnerable to infections or viruses caused by filthy clothes?
- Does my senior seem ashamed of their personal hygiene and general living conditions?
- What type of laundry service would be right for my senior?
What benefits do laundry services provide?
Laundry services help with washing and drying
Laundry service providers help seniors by washing and drying their clothes in a hygienic, expedited, and efficient manner. They can handle virtually anything that you would normally put in a washing machine, including undergarments, bedding, clothing, and even drapes. In addition, full laundry service providers can handle more demanding and specialized tasks such as dry cleaning, deep cleaning, or even the disinfection of pet blankets.
Laundry services can help with folding and organization
Some laundry services help with folding and organization as needed, particularly housekeeping services and others offering in-home laundry service. Remember, the chores don’t end when the drying cycle is complete. Your seniors still have to remove the clothes, fold them, and put them away. Wash and fold laundry service allows your senior to avoid strenuous activity and simply open a drawer to reach for a new set of clothing.
Service providers can pick up and deliver laundry
Some laundry service providers schedule pickups and deliveries to make laundry even more convenient. This means that your seniors can sit back and relax while virtually every aspect of their laundry is handled for them. This also means that family caregivers don’t need to worry about trips to and from the laundromat. That means more free time for both caregivers and seniors.
Questions about laundry services
What types of care options are available with laundry services?
Laundry services can be customized to meet your senior’s specific needs. These include:
- Sanitizing detergent treatment (removes 99% of contamination)
- Helping seniors do laundry at their homes, using their own laundry machines
- Picking up dirty laundry and delivering clean laundry
- Wash and fold service
- Ironing and dry cleaning
Talking about laundry services
While it may seem obvious that your senior is in need of laundry assistance, they might be hesitant to accept help. Some seniors will get apprehensive when you bring up this topic, interpreting it as a compromise of their sense of independence. This is why it’s important to bring up the topic in a considerate, careful manner.
How to approach the topic of laundry services with your senior
There are a number of questions that could help you guide your senior towards the possibility of laundry assistance in a respectful way, including:
Questions to help a senior consider laundry services
- Does your washer do as good a job as you like getting clothes clean?
- Do you ever forget to do the laundry?
- Wouldn’t it be nice to have fresh sheets every single week?
- What would happen if you got hurt or fell while carrying the laundry?
Paying for laundry services
How much do laundry services cost?
The cost of laundry services vary depending on service levels and options. Pricing for a service provider who comes to your senior’s home for washing, drying, folding, ironing, and organization will be different than a laundry pick up and delivery service from the local laundromat. Using laundry services on a weekly basis will result in different costs than laundry services on an occasional basis. The good news is that you can choose an option that meets the needs and budget of your senior’s care plan. Talk to local providers about pricing to find the right solution for you and your senior.
Can I get help paying for laundry services?
While Medicare covers many medical costs, you’ll generally have a hard time receiving any coverage for services like housekeeping and laundry. The only real exception is if your senior suffers from a health condition that makes clean laundry absolutely necessary. For example, certain respiratory issues may require sanitized and disinfected bedding at all times. Under these circumstances, Medicare Advantage Plans may cover the costs of laundry services. Medicare A and B could also provide coverage, but only on a temporary basis after a major surgery or injury when lumped together with general “in-home care.”
How can I find laundry services for my senior?
If you’d like to provide your senior with fresh, soft clothing and bedding, SeniorsMatter is here to help. To find qualified, professional laundry service providers nearby, all you need to do is visit our Resource Hub. This free online resource provides you with a detailed listing of care options in your local area, helping you assess and choose the best possible service provider based on your family’s unique situation. Plus, you’ll find plenty of area senior care providers offering home care services, meal delivery, and much more. Check out our Resource Hub today to get started.