Housework in old age—a poem

Why do (other) people neglect housework in old age? Why do old people neglect home maintenance?

Many abandon housework in their later years.
(Not you, of course.) Be tolerant.
Maybe they’re low on energy
maybe their poor old knees are sore
or they don’t have strength
in their hands any more.

Maybe they simply fail to see
the blackened cups, the sticky floors
the crumbs and dust and animal hair
or maybe they honestly don’t care.

As Quentin Crisp declared,
after the first four years
the dirt doesn’t get any worse.

Rachel McAlpine — feel free to share

See also: Home maintenance in old age

Housework in old age. Woman relaxing on sofa surrounded by mess and dirt.


18 thoughts on “Housework in old age—a poem

  1. simplywendi says:

    not that having a clean home is not important, we learn to realize it is not as important as we thought it was.

  2. Rachel McAlpine says:

    Yes, isn’t it lucky that that we gain in nonchalence what we lose in energy as time goes by!

  3. 3 questions to ask yourself:
    Will it harm me?
    Will it harm anyone else?
    Does it matter?

    If you get 3 NOES
    Sit down and read a book.

  4. Nevertheless I hope it doesn’t happen to me, or that daughters or cleaners come to the rescue every few weeks. Note to self: be nice to said daughters.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      I recommend daughters too.

  5. Alien Resort says:

    I’m saving all the work for the heirs.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      What fun they’ll have.

  6. srbottch says:

    Love the poem but you wouldn’t know that by my wife. Consequently, since ‘stuff’ flows downhill, I work at (or, am told to work at) keeping up with housework. Beds made, floors cleaned, counter top spotless and uncluttered (only a mixer and coffee pot), sink empty and no water spots …I could go on but I rest my laurels…or, sore joints!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      So, pretty much a normal household then. Time for a break.

  7. quiall says:

    hahaha . Loved that! Dust will always return so why disturb it? Thanks for following my blog.

  8. Jonno says:

    Housework and over-cleanliness is over-rated. Keep everything reasonable but there are far more important things to spend your time doing and nothing stays clean for long so not worth stressing about.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      And walk away 🙂

  9. mpardi2013 says:

    For three days before every Bridge party my wife hosts we labor to clean and polish the house. One time I asked her, “What kind of friends come into your home and do a White Glove inspection?” Getting no answer I went back to polishing the cabinets.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Your wife is using an ancient esoteric women’s system. It works.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    I strive for a modicum of tidy and a minimum of sneezing.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:


  11. Margy says:

    I tidy before guests arrive. I clean after guests leave…

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:


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