Perhaps your parents are like many other adults who have decided they would like to age in their current place. You may have already senior-proofed their home with railings, shower bars and got rid of potentially hazardous area rugs. But that’s not where you should stop. There are routine house improvements that you’ll need to keep up with as well to keep it home safe home. Here are our top home maintenance tips for seniors living alone.
One of the biggest hazards for seniors is falling. As they get older, their bones become more fragile, so falls that might have hurt in their 30s now have the potential to put them in the hospital. There are a number of trip hazards beyond area rugs that should be attended to:
• perform routine maintenance on their indoor floors and walkways
• look for weak or warped planks on wooden patios and decks
• check for cracks in the concrete of outdoor walkways
• repair tears in the carpet that might snag as they walk by
Senior citizens are frequently targeted by burglars because they are “easy targets.” As a result, be sure to:
• regularly check their windows and doors to make sure they lock securely
• think about installing a home security system
Roof, Walls and Foundation Maintenance
The roof, the walls and the foundation are the three areas that require inspection at least once a year. Leaky roofs lead to mold which can affect the respiratory system. Cracks in walls can compromise heating efficiency. Cracks in the foundation could indicate structural problems or a termite infestation. Each spring, after winter storms have passed, you should:
• have the roof of their house inspected
• check the house’s exterior and interior walls for cracks and holes
• inspect the foundation for any cracks or signs of weakness
• hire a pest control company to check for termites
Hire experts who can carry out the needed inspections, upgrades and necessary maintenance. A well-maintained home lasts longer and needs fewer upgrades in the long run.
Programs to Help Seniors Pay for Maintenance
There are many financial assistance programs available to help seniors complete maintenance on their homes.
1. Area Agency on Aging
Contact the New York State Office for Aging or the Connecticut Department of Aging and Disability Services to find out about home modification and repair funds provided by the Older Americans Act.
2. The Residential Emergency Services to Offer (Home) Repairs to the Elderly (RESTORE)
For homeowners 60 years of age or older, RESTORE offers financial resources to help with the cost of addressing emergencies and code violations that pose a threat to their health and safety or affect the viability of their home.
3. Sliding-Scale and Reduced-Fee Contractor Services
Some contractors may be willing to make home modifications for senior citizens at a reduced cost or on a sliding scale depending on their income. When reaching out to contractors on your parents’ behalf, be sure to mention that the repair is for an elderly person.
Certain home modifications are covered by some long-term care insurance policies. Check their policy for details.
Comprehensive Home Safety Assessment
Consider having a comprehensive home safety assessment performed that includes the exterior of their home, all entry areas, every room including bathrooms, bedrooms, laundry room, garage, basement, kitchen and dining room, lighting evaluation, fire safety and electrical safety. A complete assessment will have recommendations for fall prevention and home safety. If necessary modifications are suggested, Oasis Senior Advisors can confidently refer you to providers in the area. Call us at 475.619.4123 or 914.356.1901 or fill out our online form to contact us.