“A Special Day For Aging In Place”

Today, on this first day of a new year, marks a special opportunity to help ensure that all of us remain safe when it comes to evaluating and using outdated consumer products and foodstuffs that we may have on hand.

It happens only once a year

While it can happen much more frequently – even daily – today is the one time each year when it is so easy to know that the foodstuffs and health aids that we have on hand are fresh and safe to use. The calendar has provided an important help.

On this January 1st day – actually the first day of 2023 – we have an opportunity that we have not had for a year. Last January 1st was the most recent time we had such a time to do this.

We get to go through our pantries, cabinets, linen closets, and medicine cabinets to inspect the items we have on hand and look at the safety dates printed on them. We certainly can do this more frequently, but today makes it easy. Anything that has a “use by,” “sell by,” “best by” or “expires” date on it prior to 2023 – regardless of the month and day – is not fresh. We don’t have to immediately discard it, but we easily can do so.

Helping with safety and clutter

A couple of key components for aging in place effectively are creating and maintaining a safe living environment and also having one that is not cluttered with unnecessary items that we will no longer need or use.

Rather than getting out a calendar to see how many more days an item’s effective period may last, we can perform a very simple test. For anything dated 2022 or before (even years before), we can simply decide that it is past its safe or effective date and discard it. Of course, for 2023 or later items, the calendar can help.

This takes the guesswork out of keeping or discarding items that have effective dates printed on them. Anything dated prior to 2023 – whatever the date – we can discard. We may decide to keep some of the items, at our discretion, but the key determining factor – the date – is obvious.

Spreading the word

For family members who don’t live with us, neighbors, and clients, a gentle reminder that anything they have on any of their shelves that have a 2022 or prior date (don’t worry about the month and day) can be discarded.

This accomplished three purposes: (1) it lets them eliminate anything that is not current or safe to use, (2) it frees up storage space for replacement items, and (3) it helps them determine what items they need to replace so they can have a proper stock for themselves.

Here’s to a less cluttered and safer beginning to the new year!

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