Aging in place is a growing trend in the US as seniors prefer to live in their own homes independently for as long as possible. In a recent AARP study, over 75% of homeowners aged 50+ would like to stay in their current homes and communities as long as possible. However, as we grow older, the risk of falls, accidents, and health issues increases. Therefore, it is crucial to keep the home well-maintained and safe. Senior citizens can take several steps to ensure their property is in good condition, and there are tasks best left to professionals.
Regular Maintenance Tasks for Seniors
Good property management begins with regular essential maintenance to keep the home in good condition and prevent accidents. Here are some tasks seniors can tackle themselves:
1. Check Smoke Alarms
Smoke alarms are essential for everyone, but for seniors, they can be lifesavers. Make sure to test smoke alarms once a month, replace batteries at least twice a year, and replace the entire unit every ten years. If a senior homeowner is hearing impaired, there are smoke alarm options designed to protect that population.
2. Keep Floors Free of Clutter
Seniors often trip and fall as they get older and more than 60% of those falls happen at home. Therefore, it's important to keep floors free of clutter, loose rugs, and excess furniture. In the same vein, regularly surveying flooring and footing conditions whether it be warped wood flooring, exterior concrete cracks, or loose carpeting can also mitigate the risk of trip and falls.
3. Install Grab Bars
Grab bars in bathrooms and showers can be helpful for seniors with mobility problems. They provide support while standing up or moving around in slippery conditions.
4. Change the Air Filter
Changing air filters once a month can reduce allergens while improving indoor air quality. It also helps to extend the life of the HVAC system.
5. Check Handrails
Handrails provide support when climbing stairs or walking down hallways. Seniors should make sure handrails are secure and sturdy.
Tasks Best Left to Professionals
Some home maintenance tasks require professional help. Here are a few examples:
1. Plumbing Repairs
Leaky pipes, clogged drains, and other plumbing issues are better left for professionals. They have the expertise and tools required to fix the problem and prevent future issues.
2. Electrical Repairs
Working with electrical systems can be dangerous, especially for seniors. Calling a licensed electrician to fix faulty wiring, install new outlets, and replace light fixtures is the best course of action.
3. HVAC Maintenance
Seniors should have their HVAC systems professionally serviced and inspected on an annual basis. Service professionals can detect and fix minor issues before they turn into expensive repairs or replacements.
4. Roof Repairs
A damaged roof can lead to further safety concerns. However, homeowners that climb on their own roofs oftentimes put themselves in unnecessary risk of danger. Professional roofers can identify and repair leaks or other issues before they cause significant problems.
In conclusion, home maintenance ensures comfort and safety for seniors who prefer to age in place. There are resources for older homeowners to proactively maintain their property so that aging in place is a viable and safe option. It's essential for seniors to stay on top of regular maintenance tasks and involve professionals for more significant issues. By taking care of the home, seniors can live safely and independently for a more extended period and enjoy their golden years. Moatkeeper can help senior homeowners to organize and track their property management and home maintenance tasks to ensure that the goal of aging in place remains a reality.