Getting older, as we know, is no picnic. It often seems to be a process of gradually giving up things that we are used to doing, and it’s hard. If you’re an adult whose parents are aging, you know this, and may be struggling with how best to help.
According to a recent report from Pew Research, you’re in good company. Just over half of the Americans surveyed had helped a parent 65 or older with errands, housework or home maintenance in the previous 12 months. As the age of the parents increased, the amount of help that adult children provided went up as well. 64% of the respondents with parents 75 and older had provided that type of help.
As much as many of us would like to pitch in and help maintain our parents’ home, it’s just not practical for most people. The Bureau of Labor Statistics tells that on average, once we take care of work, sleep, and a few other essentials, most of us have less than 2 hours to devote to “household activities.” That is hardly enough time to keep up with our own responsibilities; it makes it very difficult to add in time to maintain another home.
Providing a Helping Hand
Being able to continue living in their home as they age is a great thing for most people, but it comes with challenges. Most notably, a person’s ability to take care of home maintenance declines with age. It becomes risky for elderly residents to climb a ladder or do any type of heavy work. Unfortunately, neglecting home maintenance can create unsafe conditions, the last thing we want to see in our aging parents’ home.
There are a number of home maintenance safety considerations to keep in mind as our parents age:
- Ladders are notoriously hazardous. Elderly people should avoid using ladders, especially when there is no one else in the house.
- Check all lamps and light fixtures to be sure the bulbs do not need to be replaced. This simple task can be dangerous for seniors and an unlit space can be a site for trip hazards.
- Check regularly for frayed electrical wires or outlets that may cause a potential for electrocution or be fire hazards. Small appliances can develop problems over time, and should be replaced.
- Clean roofs and gutters seasonally, to remove debris like fallen leaves, pine needles or branches. Keeping gutters clean and free flowing will reduce water damage in the future and save you and your senior from other repairs.
- Inspect crawlspaces and attics at least annually looking for fire dangers, rotting floor joists, water intrusion, insect/termite invasion or other hidden dangers.
This is quite a list, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Take a look at our recent blog on the 15 preventative maintenance items most homes are begging for. Handling all of this for your parent’s home, in addition to your own, is a daunting prospect. Still, proper home maintenance is key to keeping older loved ones safe and comfortable at home. So what’s a family to do?
Keeping Your Parent’s Home Safe
To maintain the home’s value and head off potential emergencies, it’s best to follow a preventative maintenance schedule. This keeps systems operating at peak efficiency and solves small issues before they become big problems. Getting the most for their money is essential for seniors and their families, so doing preventive maintenance makes sense.
Approaching home maintenance strategically and proactively can be the answer. When maintenance tasks are undertaken on a set schedule, nothing gets overlooked. Expert advice can ensure that all of the home’s essential systems are properly maintained to help avoid breakdowns and emergencies. Common problems can be avoided entirely, so the cost for preventative maintenance is actually less than you think.
At Glasshouse, we specialize in this approach. We have managers in place to set up a maintenance plan that’s appropriate for each property. They know the neighborhood and have professional connections that ensure that the work done on your property is of the highest quality. They become a trusted resource that provide you and your parents with invaluable peace of mind.
There are plenty of ways to show your parents that you care, aside from replacing a leaky faucet. Knowing that their home is safe and comfortable is an investment in your peace of mind. To learn more about how you can accomplish this via Glasshouse, visit Glasshouse.com today!