I have a relative that lives in a small apartment but it's quite messy. She pointed out that her home was messy and explained that she couldn't clean it because her health wasn't up to the tee. How could I appropriately approach the subject of offering to clean it for her without causing any hurt feelings?

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    Hello, welcome to IPS! Can you help us answer your question by adding more details? Have you asked your relative if you could clean it in the past, and what was her reaction? Have other people cleaned it for her before? Does she live alone or with someone? What country does your relative live in (for cultural references)? – ElizB Jul 6 '18 at 12:19
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    We can't really tell you if it would be OK to ask because we (sadly) aren't mind readers. We can help you with appropriate ways to word the request, but I would recommend reading through the help center for more information on what kinds of questions are on topic. As the question stands it will probably be closed. – TheRealLester Jul 6 '18 at 12:22
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    In addition, it might make the question more clear if you tell us what specific limitations she has, because of her health? For example: limited energy, physical restrictions (can't lift, bend, etc), or unable to walk due to sore muscles/joints? You do not have to reveal absolutely everything, but as much information that is helpful will help us answer the question clearly. – ElizB Jul 6 '18 at 15:31
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    As it stands, it's not explicitly clear why you may "cause hurt feelings" by asking if you can clean. Is your relative a proud person who would feel bad to have you cleaning for her? Or maybe you think she would take it as an insult? – scohe001 Jul 6 '18 at 17:36

I had a relative who was injured and wife had cancer. When we visited, we talked about their situation and the things that they both wished they could do.

Some people take inordinate pride in their housekeeping and see inability to keep up with cleaning as a sign of failure. So I wouldn't approach it from that angle.

With the relatives above, I offered to cook a meal for them. That was something that they knew they needed and neither had the ability to do. then, after cooking, I was able to say, "Hey, I made a mess of the kitchen. Let me clean my mess up." No one will say, "Hey, please leave me a mess.." So that worked out well. Then I could give the kitchen a good cleaning, and she was happy that I could do that while not insulting her housekeeping.

After that, the discussion got harder. I offered to pay for a maid service, but was told that he would not accept that. So there's an element of pride associated (again) with that. However, once successful with the kitchen, had I wanted to, I would have said something like, "Kitchen's done - can I give you a hand in the living room? Is there anything you need moved around? I've swept the kitchen - how about I vacuum the living room?" I would keep the offer small- don't insinuate the whole place needs cleaning, but ask to do small tasks and keep going.

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