Archive for home safety

Helping a Hoarder so she can remain living in her home

So far, this blog has focused on general topics related to senior downsizing, senior living adaptation, and senior home services.

This time I’d like to tell you about one of the clients we’ve worked with recently.

Mary (not her real name) is a 90-year old woman who lives on her own in the Niagara Region. She owns a duplex and rented out one side while living in the other.

Mary is a hoarder. Over time, her floors became covered with accumulated clutter as well as dog and cat urine and feces. By the time the situation became unbearable, she no longer had a tenant, so she moved to the other side of the duplex, which was in the same state before long.

For years people tried to help Mary, but she wouldn’t let anyone inside.

In addition to the unsanitary conditions described above, there were issues with the utilities and the pipes had burst due to insufficient heat. Mary had no water in her home for 3 years. The hydro in the kitchen was not working; therefore the food in the fridge had rotted, and she was unable to cook.

kitchen afterkitchen before









Circumstances unfolded in such a way that Mary was removed from her home and hospitalized. With much pain it was discovered that Mary had a fractured hip; she then had surgery and went to rehab.

Mary had been sleeping sitting up in a lazy boy chair for years, so a bed was purchased and placed on the main floor until such time as she is strong enough to do the stairs.

Several organizations were involved in this case, including Gate Keepers, Public Health, the Fire Marshall, a plumber, and an electrician.  Mary was not allowed to return home until health and safety standards were met.

That’s when Be Clutter Free was called in. Our team of five spent seven days in Mary’s home, during which time we removed three bins of soiled and contaminated items.  We were also careful to arrange the  furniture in such a way that everything was easily accessible for her when she returned to her home.

living room before & after

It was very rewarding to restore Mary’s home to a clean and safe environment where she continues to live independently. Mary is very happy to be home.

To see more photos of this project, please check out our Facebook page.  And while you’re there, be sure to “Like” us or leave a comment!

5 Ways to Prevent Falls at Home

senior falls and unable to get up

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, falls account for 85% of injury-related hospitalizations for seniors age 65 and over. Nearly half of seniors who fall sustain a minor injury, and 5% to 25% experience a a fracture, sprain or other serious injury.

If those stats aren’t alarming enough, consider that falls cause over 90% of hip fractures in seniors, and that 20% will die within a year of the fracture!

Even seniors who are not injured after a fall may experience a decrease in confidence and activities, which can lead to a decline in health and function and increase the likelihood that they’ll fall again. Next time they may not be so lucky!

Clearly, reducing the risk of falls is an important health and safety concern. Here are five things you should check right now to make sure your home is a safe environment for seniors and family members of all ages.

  1. Do mats and other loose rugs have non-skid backing?
  2. Is a sturdy step stool available for accessing items in overhead cabinets?
  3. Are stairways and halls well lit?
  4. Are grab bars installed near the toilet and bathtub?
  5. Are handrails sturdy and securely fastened?

For help assessing these or other aspects of your home, please email us or call 905-971-9568 for your free, no obligation consultation.

Photo © rudybaby –