Resources for Family Caregivers of Older Adults
Thriftiness While Saving the Planet – Green Caregiving with Seniors

Thriftiness While Saving the Planet – Green Caregiving with Seniors

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We hear a lot about recycling and being ironmentally friendly. But what does that really mean to the life of a caregiver who is struggling to get everything done for the day without worrying about separating paper and plastic?

Actually, when you think about going green it conjures up a lot of effort and great changes that are required to make a difference.

In reality, it doesn’t take much change to make a difference in the environment — and in their wallet.

It can also be a great way to share with senior loved ones, many of whom will identify with the “waste not, want not” approach they remember from their youth.

Why Should Caregivers Go Green?

Some environmentally friendly activities can cut down on your workload. You may find that hard to believe, but it’s true. Doing things that save the environment will also save you and your senior loved one some money.

Helping the environment and taking steps to be more sustainable can help us all live better lives, especially our children and grandchildren, because we are helping make the planet healthier. We can feel good about our part in changing the air and water in our world for the better.

Everything we do has an impact in either a positive or negative way. For some the goal is to reduce their carbon footprint. What does that mean exactly you ask?

Our dictionary defines carbon footprint as

‘the amount of greenhouse gases and specifically carbon dioxide emitted by something (as a person’s activities or a product’s manufacture and transport) during a given period”.

Being green can reduce the production of greenhouse gases, reduce the amount of waste in our local landfills, clean the air that we breathe and help protect the earth.

Ways to Go Green & Save

Did you know that you could save these resources when you go green (see suggestions below)?

  • 20 gallons of water at each dishwasher use
  • 2,500 gallons of water and 55 square feet of forest with one meatless meal a week
  • Half a million trees used for newsprint
  • 100,000 barrels of oil a day in warm-cold clothes washing
  • Reduce air pollution of one million cars with one compact fluorescent bulb
  • 5 gallons a water a day by turning off water during brushing teeth
  • Reduce greenhouse gases formed when transporting our food long distance
  • Save 18.5 million trees, 2.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and 1.7 billion pounds of solid waste every year by getting bills online

Green Caregiving

There are a lot of little things that you and your senior can do in their home and yard that can, added together, improve the quality of the planet and improving their lives.

As a bonus, some of these activities can be done as a way to find inexpensive activities that involve you both and other family members, some of these ideas will save you work too. You can do these together and have a common goal. It sure won’t be boring!

  1. Don’t rinse your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher; run the dishwasher only when it is full
  2. Hang dry clothes (the old fashioned way your parents probably did it!)
  3. Practice ‘Meatless Mondays’ each week
  4. Recycle newspapers, glass, plastic, aluminum
  5. Use one less paper napkin a day
  6. Use warm-cold water instead of the hot cycle to wash clothes (clothes will still get clean)
  7. Look through oven window instead of opening door and don’t pre-heat unless making bread or baked goodies
  8. Replace one or all light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs
  9. Turn off water when brushing teeth (or dentures)
  10. Plant a tree
  11. Buy secondhand items at thrift and consignment stores; reuse items and re-purpose things; visit garage sales
  12. Go to a farmer’s market and get food grown locally; look for locally grown in the grocery store
  13. Install a programmable thermostat, set thermostat a few degrees lower or higher to save on heating/cooling costs and energy production
  14. Turn off lights when not in the room
  15. Donate or consign things you no longer need or want instead of trashing
  16. Recycle old phone books
  17. Stop your junk mail and billing paper statements; get bills online
  18. Take a shorter shower, reduce number of baths and install a low-flow shower head to save water
  19. Use a reusable water bottle instead of bottled water, recycle plastic containers
  20. Fix the leaky faucet or running toilet

Passing Along Habits from Their Youth

We’ve found that many seniors take pride in actions that they feel are making the world a better place for their grandchildren and great grandchildren. They may also feel they are passing along some of the thriftiness with which they grew up from the “hard times” of their youth.

As caregivers, you will also be able to find ways to spend time with your senior loved one, give them ‘jobs’ to do and make even more memories!

When we practice being green, we are being good role models for all our family members. We are also making an impact!

We'd love to hear your thoughts!





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